Sen. Grassley explains decision on Yemen War Powers Resolutions

U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa released the following statement on Friday regarding his vote against the Yemen War Powers Resolution, S. J. Res. 54, and his vote in favor of S. J. Res. 69, which calls for peace negotiations for Yemen and condemned the murder of Jamal Khashoggi and named the Crown Price of Saudi Arabia as responsible for his death.

“The Yemen Resolution adopted by the Senate purports to invoke the War Powers Act, which is designed to require the removal of U.S. troops from combat, in order to end U.S. support for Saudi-led coalition forces fighting the Iranian-backed rebels in Yemen. But U.S. forces are not in combat in Yemen and ending U.S. logistical support wouldn’t end the war in Yemen. All withdrawing support would do is help Iran in its effort to take over a country and establish a foothold in the Arabian Peninsula. The ongoing civil war in Yemen is devastating. This brutal and gruesome conflict has killed thousands. The United States should support an immediate ceasefire and consider what can be done to achieve lasting peace. In the meantime, providing the coalition American technology and logistical support helps limit civilian casualties and reduce further unnecessary suffering.

“The resolution passed by the Senate invokes the War Powers Act to end U.S. involvement in the coalition that is opposing the attempt by the Iranian-backed Houthis to overthrow the government in Yemen. However, ‘hostilities’ has historically been interpreted to mean that U.S. soldiers are engaged in actual combat, which they are not. This could set an uncertain precedent that could have unforeseen implications well beyond this conflict. If Congress decides to limit any activity by the military in any part of the world, it could do so through the regular legislative process, such as the annual National Defense Authorization Act.

“(Thursday night), the Senate passed a separate resolution, with Senator Grassley’s support, backing the peace negotiations for Yemen under United Nations auspices. It also condemned the murder of Jamal Khashoggi and put the Senate on record that it believes Saudi Arabian Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is responsible.”