Donald Trump took action last week in Syria without congressional approval and 55 House members have taken an added step to ensure that the president doesn’t do the same thing in Yemen. The lawmakers have drawn up a letter and delivered it to President Trump after gathering signatures amongst Congress.
“As U.S. Representatives, we take seriously the right and responsibility of Congress to authorize the use of force, or to refuse to do so, as mandated by the Constitution and the 1973 War Powers Resolution,” the letter reads. “We expect that any direct military actions pursued by the administration against the Yemeni Houthis be brought before Congress for consideration and authorization for approval before they are executed.”
It was in late March when this letter began making the rounds for signatures but the timing seems perfect with the questions being asked about Trump making the decision to go forward with missile strikes in Syria on his own with authorization from Congress. Although the action has received mostly bipartisan praise, Congress still wants to be involved for any further action in Syria and apparently also Yemen now.
The letter campaign was organized by two representatives from each party – Mark Pocan (D-Wisc.), Ted Lieu (D-Calif.), Walter Jones (R-N.C.) and Justin Amash (R-Mich.).
The Yemeni civil war is in its third year and has pitted the Saudi-backed President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi and the Houthi rebels, who have taken over the capital city of Sanaa and displaced Hadi, who fled to the city of Aden. The Saudis, fearing Iranian intervention, formed a coalition that has had the support of the United States with weapons sales, intelligence and logistics.
Defense Secretary James Mattis sent a request to President Trump to approve a similar role for the U.S. in a planned operation in Hodeida that will be led by the United Arab Emirates. The 55 representatives are fearful that action would bring on even more famine in the area.
“Congress is a direct line to the people and this letter is a first step in reasserting our Constitutional check on presidential powers,” Rep. Pocan said in a statement. “I am committed to pursuing all tools at our disposal to ensure President Trump abides by our Constitution before possibly plunging our country into another senseless conflict.”
H/T: The Hill
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