Expressing the Sense of the House With Respect to United States Policy Towards Yemenby Representative Gwen Moore
Posted on 2017-11-13
in the house of representatives
Monday, November 13, 2017
Ms. MOORE. Mr. Speaker, I have heard from many of my constituents who
are concerned about U.S. involvement in Yemen. The
country is in ruins, civilians are paying the price, and there seems to
be little to no interest in using our considerable heft and moral
authority to search for and find a diplomatic solution.
We are no closer to peace in Yemen today than when the first bombs dropped. What we do have after over two years of war and suffering is a fractured country, repeated attacks on health and other civilian facilities in a country now experiencing a deadly cholera outbreak that could eventually reach 1 million suspected cases by year's end, limited access to lifesaving humanitarian aid, including the decision last week by the Saudi-led coalition to close all ports and ground all humanitarian flights into the country that will only make a bad situation, worse.
That decision was quickly condemned by the United Nations and others who warned about the dire consequences for Yemen's 27 million citizens. In the face of international pressure and condemnation, it appears the Saudi-led coalition may now reopen some ports but the situation remains dire.
There are serious questions that need to be answered about U.S. involvement, direct and indirect, including what it is actually helping to achieve, and what are the costs. While participation in the Yemen civil war preceded this Administration, that fact does not remove the responsibility of the President and this Congress.
The final FY 2018 Defense Authorization bill (H.R. 2810) that we are going to consider later this week includes a provision calling for a U.S. Security Strategy for Yemen from this Administration. That would be a step forward. Unfortunately, the bill that will come before the House this week would strip--without public debate, discussion, or deliberation--a provision from the House-passed bill that would have barred any use of taxpayer funding to deploy members of the U.S. Armed Forces to participate in the ongoing civil war in Yemen.
Additionally, the House-passed version of H.R. 1298 barred the use of taxpayer funds authorized in the bill to conduct U.S. military operations in Yemen. That provision was also dropped in conference with the Senate, again with no public debate or deliberation. If we agree that the humanitarian situation is horrific, that a political solution is the only solution, then why keep the pathway open for broader U.S. military engagement? The provisions in the House-passed version of H.R. 2810 would have put strong teeth behind the resolution we are considering today and behind the concerns expressed during this debate and in this resolution regarding the humanitarian crises that is unfolding in Yemen as a direct result of this damaging conflict.
Mr. Speaker, it is not in our nation's interest to make a dangerous region only more volatile. It is not in our nation's interest to see Yemen become an even more broken and divided nation and even a failed state. And it is not clear that continuing to do more of the same will not reverse those trends or bring us closer to the diplomatic solution that is almost universally recognized as the only effective solution.