Saudi Arabia and Yemen

Additional Information on the Federal Legislative Agenda, 116th Congress (2019-2020)

Saudi Arabia and Yemen

President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump arrive in Rihad, Saudi Arabia, Saturday, May 20, 2017. (Official White House Photo by Shealah Craighead)

Prohibit Security Assistance to Saudi Arabia – YES

H.R.643’s sponsor is Jim McGovern of Massachusetts’ Second Congressional District. This bill, if turned into law, would inhibit any U.S. security support (including intelligence, training, and the like) and arms sales to Saudi Arabia or any state-sponsored agents or instrumentalities, with the exception of activities which protect U.S. diplomatic and consular posts or U.S. citizens. In addition, “Congress may pass a joint resolution to waive these prohibitions on a case-by-case basis. To request such a waiver, the President shall report to Congress on (1) how the requested activity advances U.S. national security interests, (2) the status of any investigation and prosecution of individuals responsible for the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, and (3) the status of human rights protections in Saudi Arabia.”[1] Here is the press release for the bill providing some background on what promoted McGovern to sponsor the bill. 

Yemen Refueling Prohibition Act — YES

Connected to H.R.643 is H.R.910, a bill which prohibits federal funds for in-flight refueling of Saudi or Saudi-led coalition aircraft(s) conducting missions as part of the ongoing war in Yemen.[2] Here is a National Peace Action Policy Briefing about ending the war in Yemen. And this is a policy briefing about ‘reclaiming’ congressional war powers. This is the press release by Congressman Lieu about the introduction of this bill to the House floor. 

Linked below are several articles with updates on the war:

Saudi Arabia Is Running Out of Friends” by David Wearing 

‘I feel lucky’: millions have fled war-torn Yemen – the US has accepted 50” by Lauren Aratni

UN says Yemen conflict is worsening” by James Bay

This Vox article/video (“The US may be aiding war crimes in Yemen”) does a good job of providing some context to the civil war and the different actors involved as does this Guardian article (“Yemen civil war: the conflict explained”). 

Here is a link to regular updates on the legislative status and cosponsorship of these bills. See also this background information on Saudi Arabia and the US-Saudi relationship and this page with background infomation on Yemen. 

Sources:

[1] https://www.congress.gov/bill/116th-congress/house-bill/643 

[2] https://www.congress.gov/bill/116th-congress/house-bill/910