On Capitol Hill, three US senators have introduced a bill that would force Congress to vote for the first time on whether to continue US support for the Saudi-led coalition’s war in Yemen. The measure was introduced by Republican Mike Lee, Democrat Chris Murphy and Vermont independent Bernie Sanders, who noted that the Constitution gives Congress — and not the president — the power to declare war. For more, we speak with Senator Chris Murphy of Connecticut.
JUAN GONZÁLEZ: I then asked Senator Murphy about his support for a new bipartisan bill to end US involvement in Saudi Arabia’s devastating war in Yemen.
SEN. CHRIS MURPHY: Well, we’re obviously, rightly, focused on the violence that the federal government and the US Congress facilitates in our own country because of our inaction, but we also need to talk about the violence that we export. Yemen today, a place that not a lot of Americans think about, is going through the worst humanitarian crisis in the world — a famine, a cholera outbreak that has affected over a million people. All of it is happening because of the United States.
The United States has entered into a coalition with the Saudis to bomb that country as part of a very complicated civil war. The Saudis are on one side. Some rebels inside the country are on the other side of it, backed by the Iranians. And the bombing campaign, that the United States has helped run, has killed thousands of Yemeni civilians, has targeted the water treatment facilities in that country, which has led to this cholera outbreak. People are dying by the day. And the US is actually less safe because of it, because this civil war inside Yemen has allowed for al-Qaeda and ISIS to get bigger and stronger. We’re doing it just because we’re allies of the Saudis, and for some reason, the Trump administration is backing the Saudis in all of their various plays in the region.
But Senator Sanders and I, along with Republican Mike Lee, have introduced legislation that would shut down US involvement. We have the ability to trigger a vote on the Senate floor to contest the fact that we believe this military engagement is illegal, it’s unauthorized. Congress has not passed a law allowing for the Congress — for the administration to do this. We think it’s really important. We think if we stop our military engagement in the Yemen civil war, we will save a lot of lives and we will make the United States safer. I’m hopeful this is going to pass. Obviously, the Trump administration is going to oppose it. But we think this is, you know, one of the most import national security questions that Congress can consider.
AMY GOODMAN: Democratic Senator Chris Murphy of Connecticut. And that does it for our show. You can get our podcast, video and audio, and transcripts at democracynow.org.