Lee, Sanders Introduce Resolution that Invokes the War Powers Act

Saudi soldiers stand guard as workers unload aid from a Saudi air force cargo plane at an airfield in Yemen's central province of Marib

Senators Bernie Sanders, Mike Lee and Chris Murphy said in a joint statement that their resolution would force the first-ever vote in the Senate "to withdraw USA armed forces from an unauthorised war".

The House voted overwhelmingly previous year to adopt a resolution that declared the United States military had not been authorized to assist Saudi Arabia in its war in Yemen.

However, Pentagon officials say that since US forces are not directly involved in hostilities, nothing the administration has done falls outside the powers of the president.

"If the president or members of Congress believe that support for this war is in USA interests and that we should be involved in it, then let them come before Congress, let them make their case and let the Congress vote on whether or not we stay in that war", Sanders said.

The bipartisan bill invokes the War Powers Act.

The U.S. support in Yemen ties into a larger argument on the Trump administration's continued use of a 2001 authorization for use of military force (AUMF), passed following the 9/11 terrorist attacks to justify a range of military actions.

Yemen's conflict began in 2014, when the Houthis, Shia rebels from the country's north, seized the nation's capital and ousted the Saudi-backed ruler, Abd Rabbu Mansour Hadi, who lives in exile in Riyadh. USA military support for this intervention continues to this day.

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From the beginning, the United States has supported the Saudi campaign with refueling and intelligence gathering assistance. The United Nations has said the almost three-year civil war has created one of the worst manmade humanitarian disasters, as millions of Yemenis have been displaced and the population faces starvation with aid agencies struggling to supply assistance.

The resolution is part of a longstanding friction between Congress and the executive branch over military involvement overseas.

In November 2017, the House of Representatives passed a resolution declaring that USA military assistance to Saudi Arabia in the Yemen conflict was not authorized.

For almost two decades, the United States has been in perpetual war on the other side of the planet, at a cost of trillions of American tax dollars and hundreds of thousands of lives.

The bill intends to exploit a powerful but rarely activated provision in a 1973 law - the War Powers Act - that gives Congress the authority to overrule the president and withdraw troops if the former believes the conflict is not authorised. The joint resolution is debatable for 10 hours on the Senate floor.

The two said that they would try to move the resolution through the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, but the committee may table it.

It has been reported that a Yemeni child under the age of 5 dies of preventable causes every 10 minutes because of the conflict. Ro Khanna (D-Calif.) and Mark Pocan (D-Wis.), Thomas Massie (R-Ky.) and Walter Jones (R-N.C.), has 50 cosponsors in the House.

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