April 8, 2019

Washington, DC – Representative John Curtis (R-UT), member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, voted against the S.J. Res. 7, a resolution that would use war power tools to remove United States Armed Forces from hostilities in the Republic of Yemen that have not been authorized by Congress. 

“As a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, I’ve had the opportunity to travel around the world and witness firsthand the importance of US support for our allies. As I said on the House Floor last November, I believe we should be doing everything we can to end the horrific war in Yemen and pursue peace between the Saudis and the Houthis; however, I have grave concerns about the precedent this resolution would set,” said Curtis. “By using war powers tools to remove aid, instead of other legislative vehicles, we risk disrupting over 100 critical security partnerships around the world relying on those same powers. This could result in unintended impacts on non-US military operations by other countries as well. Foreign policy is a delicate endeavor and I would encourage those supporting this resolution to consider the wider impact.”

Background

  • The resolution uses the War Powers mechanisms to direct the removal of US troops from hostilities when there are no US forces to remove.
  • The Department of Defense has repeatedly confirmed that there are no US troops engaged with the Houthis in Yemen.
  • This resolution sets a precedent that US security cooperation with partners and allies count as “engagement with hostilities,” which will put U.S. security cooperation relationships with more than 100 countries throughout the world at risk.
  • This resolution specifically seeks to halt aerial refueling of coalition jets, which is a practice that was stopped by the Trump Administration in November 2018.
  • This resolution ignores the destructive role of the Houthis and their backers in Tehran.
  • Additionally, this legislation does nothing to address the human rights violations of the Houthis or the fact that the Houthis are not the legitimate rulers of Yemen.
    • The Houthis regularly attack the Saudi border, launch missiles strikes into Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, and divert international medical and food aid to favor its own supporters and sell on the black market.
    • Human Rights Watch has accused the Houthis of taking hostages and torturing detainees.
    • The UN has reported that the Houthis use civilian human shields.
    • The World Food Programme has criticized the Houthis of illegally stealing urgently needed food aid.

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