For years, Yemen has been devastated by a brutal civil war in which U.S. and Saudi-backed forces have battled against the Iranian-supported Houthi insurgent group.
While prominent Biden administration figures once condemned former President Donald Trump for continuing America’s role in the conflict, they appear to have reversed course.
Biden officials railed against Trump administration over Yemen policy
The Intercept reported earlier this month that in 2019, a number of high profile Democrats signed a letter over three years ago calling on Congress to override Trump’s veto of a bill invoking the War Powers Resolution of 1973.
Under its provisions, Congress may direct a president to remove troops involved in “hostilities” when there has been no formal “declaration of war or specific statutory authorization” for their deployment.
“We write to ask for your leadership on a constitutional matter facing Congress that may be unparalleled in its potential impact on millions of human lives,” the letter read.
“We urge you to use the opportunity presented by the National Defense Authorization Act of 2020 (NDAA) to reassert the power over war that the Constitution vests in Congress in order to terminate unauthorized U.S. participation in the Saudi-led military campaign against Yemen’s Houthis,” it continued.
The signatories included current Secretary of State Jake Sullivan, Administrator of the United States Agency for International Development Samantha Samantha Power.
Also signing their names were Biden White House Domestic Policy Advisor Susan Rice, Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman, and Under Secretary of Defense for Policy Colin Kahl.
Yet despite this fact, The Intercept noted that on December 13, White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre declined to say whether the president would veto a Yemen resolution put forward by Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders.
White House Press Secretary declines to comment on whether President Biden would veto Bernie Sanders’ Yemen war powers resolution following reporting by @ryangrim that the White House is urging Senators to vote against it: https://t.co/0yBrK4j42e pic.twitter.com/8WO1X65K0i
— Ken Klippenstein (@kenklippenstein) December 13, 2022
However, The Intercept obtained talking points which made clear the White House wasn’t on board with Sanders’ proposal.
Sanders withdraws resolution
“The Administration strongly opposes the Yemen War Powers Resolution on a number of grounds, but the bottom line is that this resolution is unnecessary and would greatly complicate the intense and ongoing diplomacy to truly bring an end to the conflict,” stated.
“In 2019, diplomacy was absent and the war was raging,” the talking points continued, adding, “That is not the case now. Thanks to our diplomacy which remains ongoing and delicate, the violence over nearly nine months has effectively stopped.”
The Intercept noted that Sanders subsequently withdrew his resolution, although allies expect him to put forward a similar resolution next month.