House Dems’ Battle Could Kill 2020 NDAA

Amendments would defund Yemen war, prohibit US supplying participants

The National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) stands at $733 billion in the House, and on Thursday will be facing votes on some amendments, including multiple amendments related to ending the US involvement in the Yemen War. The House Democratic leadership is expressing concern that the progressives will derail the NDAA with their many amendments.

Progressive Democrats are particularly interested in pushing amendments to limit the president’s war-making powers, and most are confident this will survive, despite some leaders resisting such moves.

Several of the amendments are directly related to the US war in Yemen, with lawmakers wanting to use the power of the purse to enforce limits on the administration’s war-making powers in the face of previous vetoes.

Rep. Ro Khanna is pushing one such amendment, which would enforce a War Powers Resolution already passed declaring the Yemen War unauthorized and would prohibit any funding for the unauthorized war, or supplying any spare parts to the Saudi-UAE coalition to participate in the war.

Another amendment, by Reps Ted Lieu (D-CA) and Justin Amash (I-MI) aims to block arms sales to the Saudis and the UAE, while Rep. Lieu is also offering an amendment to stop in-air refueling of planes attacking Yemen. Rep. Dale Kildee (D-MI) is calling for the Pentagon to report to Congress on civilian casualties in the Saudi War in Yemen.

The White House was already threatening to veto the House version of the NDAA. These threats were before the Yemen amendments were voted on, and with these expected to easily pass, the veto threats will just grow.

The Senate is also moving efforts to try to pare back sales of US arms to the Saudis. Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ) expressed annoyance that the Secretary of State was treating Congressional review of arms sales as optional, and something they could just circumvent to avoid answering tough questions.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.