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S.J.Res.54 - A joint resolution to direct the removal of US Armed Forces from Yemen

Photo of Congress member Senator Bernie Sanders.

To direct the removal of United States Armed Forces from hostilities in the Republic of Yemen that have not been authorized by Congress.

You might favor this bill if:
►  You believe that U.S. government should end U.S. armed forces' involvement in the Republic of Yemen. The recent assassination of American resident and journalist Jamal Khashoggi demonstrates the U.S. has to reevaluate its involvement with Saudi Arabia.

You might oppose this bill if:
►  You believe that Saudi Arabia has been an strategic ally for decades and a military involvement in Yemen protect American interests as well.
UPDATE 12/12/18: After the resolution was voted out of committee, the Senate currently debates S.J.Res.54. It is being predicted that the resolution has the necessary 51 votes to pass.

Meanwhile, the House is being briefed on Thursday December 13, about the Saudi and Yemen state of affairs. Before this briefing though, House leadership has already ramped out a congressional rule that would prevent a "War Powers Resolution," which is being cited on the current resolution, from being used with respect to Yemen until the end of the congressional year.

The rule was tucked inside the formal rules of the Farm bill, which govern the way the bill is debated and voted on by the House Rules Committee, which is currently governed by the House Speaker, Paul Ryan. This rule essentially prevents the House from voting on a War Powers Resolution, which would block a House vote regarding this bill.

“The only reason the leadership is doing this is because they know there are dozens of Republicans who will stand with Democrats to stop the killing in Yemen,” Rep. Khanna said during debate on the rule.

Previously, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell urged the Senate to block this measure, saying the resolution “is neither precise enough or prudent enough,” to protect the 70-year alliance between the United States and Saudi Arabia.

Rep. Khanna reintroduced H.Con.Res.142, which would give Paul Ryan another chance to whether allow or not another vote on the issue should S.J.Res.54 pass the Senate, although if it garnishes enough support, Rep. Khanna could technically force a vote on the issue as well.

UPDATE 12/05/18: Senator Graham (R), in a press statement after a CIA briefing, publicly tied the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, Mohammad Bin Salman (MBS) to the killing of American resident and journalist Jamal Khashoggi. This comes after Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and National Security Advisor John Bolton have released statements declaring that MBS is not directly implicated in the murder.

"There is no direct reporting connecting the crown prince to the order to murder Jamal Khashoggi," Pompeo stated, after being briefed by the CIA about the event.

"In the assessment of those who have listened to it," stated Bolton claiming he has not listened to the tapes of the murder provided by the Turkish government to the CIA.

Bolton continued by saying that those who did listen to it did not come to the conclusion of implicating MBS of the murder, saying "that is not the conclusion that the people who have heard it have come to."

Sen. Graham, member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, said there is "zero chance, zero, that this happened in such an organized fashion without the crown prince." When responding to Trump's comment regarding not being a smoking gun, he said, "There's not a smoking gun — there's a smoking saw!"

Sen. Graham continued in the press briefing stating that having Saudi Arabia as an ally was very important but that the strategic relationship could not come at any cost to the U.S. and that MBS had to be held responsible if Saudi Arabia and the U.S. were going to share an economic relationship.

Sen. Graham had long been an ally of the Saudi government. For instance, he voted to bring down the lawsuits implicating the royal families of having connections with the 9/11 attacks and has supported numerous arms deals to the region.

Sen. Graham did not blame Pompeo and Bolton of "being in the Saudi's pocket," but rather blame their statements on being "good soldiers" for President Trump, who has defended MBS publicly numerous times.

When asked if he supported the Sanders' resolution (S.J.Res.54), he said there were other avenues of going about it but did not offer any specific plans or solutions, even though he flipped his vote last minute, despite efforts of the White House to block the bill. He blamed his flip on the White House's respond to the murder of Khashoggi.

Other Republican Senators have connected MBS to the murder as well.

"I have zero question in my mind that the crown prince, MBS, ordered the killing, monitored the killing, knew exactly what was happening, planned it in advance," said Sen. Bob Corker (R), chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. "If he was in front of a jury he would be convicted in 30 minutes. Guilty. So, the question is what do we do about that?"

Sen. Richard Shelby (R), said that the CIA briefing “basically confirmed a lot of our thoughts.” He also said “somebody should be punished,” but "the real problem" would be separating the Saudi crown prince and his associates from the nation itself.

UPDATE 12/17/18: After S.J.Res.54 was passed in the Senate, Saudi Arabia publicly denounced and angrily rejected the U.S. Senate's resolution.

On Monday December 17th, Saudi Arabia released a statement which "denounced the US Senate's position based on baseless allegations and accusations, its interference in Saudi domestic affairs and its distorting the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia's role at regional and international levels."

This is the first time since the U.S. Senate has used the 1973 War Powers Act, which was used to end the Vietnam War. This act gives Congress the power to demand the end of a U.S. military action.

Saudi Arabia is now blaming the U.S. of undermining it's sovereignty, adding that their nation is in the fight against terrorism. They explicitly targeted their disapproval at the U.S. Senate and not to the Trump administration.

"The position of the U.S. Senate does not reflect the role of Parliamentary Councils in enhancing friendly relations among countries, whether officially or popularly," wrote the Saudi Council on a news release.

The News release continued adding that the Saudi Kingdom wanted to “avoid any ramifications on the ties between the two countries that have significant negative impacts on this important strategic relationship.”

Chances of passage are still slim, as the House would need to vote on it, pass the bill and have the President sign it before the year's end. If it were to reach the President's desk, President Trump has a few choices.

He would have the opportunity to sign it, veto it or simply ignore it, called a pocket veto. Since we are at the end of a Congressional term, the president could simply ignore the bill and burn out 10 calendar days which would consequently veto the bill without having to sign the actual veto, since if he were to veto it, a two-thirds vote on the House could override it.

S.J.Res.54 is a joint resolution which would end unauthorized U.S. military involvement in the Republic of Yemen. The U.S., a long time ally of Saudi Arabia, has backed military involvement in Yemen, which some congress members have called "unauthorized" and "unconstitutional."

The resolution has been brought forward after the recent assassination of American resident and journalist Jamal Khashoggi, who is believed to have been ordered to be killed by the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, Mohammad bin Salman.

The recent disappearance and likely assassination of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi only underscores how urgent it has become for the United States to redefine our relationship with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia," said Sen. Sanders before the CIA released a statement placing blame of the assassination on the Crown Prince. "Since 2015, the Saudi-led war in Yemen has become the world's largest humanitarian disaster. Along with Sens. Mike Lee (R) and Chris Murphy (D), I introduced Senate Joint Resolution 54, which uses 1973 War Powers Resolution to compel the Trump administration to withdraw U.S. involvement in this war. This past March, the Senate tabled this resolution by a vote of 55-44. This crisis has only gotten worse since then, and our complicity even greater."

On November 28th, 2018, the Senate voted 63-37 to advance his resolution to a vote.

"For the first time, the U.S. Senate voted to advance a resolution withdrawing U.S. Armed Forces from an unauthorized and unconstitutional war. The situation in Yemen now is the worst humanitarian disaster in the world. Eighty-five thousand children have already starved to death and millions more are on the brink of starvation. All of which was caused by Saudi intervention in the civil war in Yemen," said Sen. Sanders after the vote. “The bottom line is the United States should not be supporting a catastrophic war led by a despotic regime with a dangerous and irresponsible military policy. Let us bring this catastrophic war in Yemen to an end, help bring peace to this tortured country and with the rest of the world help provide the humanitarian aid that is so desperately needed.”

Sen. Sanders intends to bring this resolution forward for a full Senate vote in order to "give the Senate another opportunity to end U.S. support for this catastrophe, to reassert Congressional authority over matters of war, and to show the Saudi government that they do not have a blank check from the United States to continue human rights violations."

President Trump has defended the Crown Prince by denying his involvement in the murder by saying "maybe he did and maybe he didn’t" ordered the assassination. Trump has stated that his interest lies in the $110 Billion arms sales that was made between the U.S. and Saudi Arabia.

According to the State Department, the U.S. contributed around $330 Million in 2016, displacing 3.1 Million Yemenis and displacing 21 million people or about 80% of the entire population.


Sponsored by: Sen. Sanders, Bernard [I-VT].

Cosponsored by: 1 Rep / 17 Dem.

See list of cosponsors.

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