Two years ago, when Rep. Ro Khanna took up the cause of the on-going and brutal Saudi-led war in Yemen, it was hardly a blip on the radar of anyone other than the most ardent of foreign policy experts.
Led by Khanna, who represents Fremont and Silicon Valley, the House of Representatives Wednesday passed a resolution calling for the U.S. to withdraw military aid to Saudi-led war in Yemen. Approval of the resolution also represents a stern rebuke by the House of President Trump’s support for the Saudi monarchy. The vote was 248-177.
“Today is historic. This is the culmination of several years of legislative efforts to end our involvement in the Saudi war in Yemen. I’m encouraged by the direction people are pushing our party to take on foreign policy, promoting restraint and human rights and with the sense they want Congress to play a much larger role,” said Khanna.
The War Powers Resolution excludes American military efforts in Yemen directed at Al-Qaeda.
Passage of the resolution is the most consequential achievement of Khanna’s young congressional career, and united not just House Democrats, but 18 war-weary Republicans.
“This is not a complex issue. For the last two years we have been assisting the Saudis in bombing Yemenis civilians,” said Khanna, during a floor speech prior to Wednesday’s vote.
The Saudi bombing of Yemen has blocked humanitarian efforts and put an estimated 14 million Yemenis at risk of starvation, said Khanna. Stern words were reserved for the Saudi leadership. Khanna accused Saudi Prince Mohammed Bin Salman in having a hand in the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, in addition, to arming Al-Qaeda in Yemen.
“The only patriotic thing, if you care about our troops, if you care about American interests, if you care about the outrage that Saudis are inflicting on Americans and the world, is to pass this resolution,” said Khanna.
Two-hundred thirty Democrats voted for Khanna’s resolution, along with 18 House Republicans. One-hundred seventy-seven Republicans voted no. East Bay Rep. Barbara Lee is a co-sponsor of the resolution.
Republicans later successfully attached a unrelated amendment denouncing anti-semitism against Israel in the U.S. and the world.