House Passes Amendments to Limit Yemen War in NDAA

Amendments block funding for Yemen War, arms sales to Saudis and UAE

The House of Representatives have begun voting on amendments to the 2020 National Defense Authorization Act. There are an estimated 441 amendments awaiting vote, and this article will be updated as more vote results become available.

Beginning on Thursday afternoon, the House began voting on amendments to the $733 billion military spending bill for 2020 (NDAA). This included a number of successful amendments aimed at limiting the US war in Yemen, and prohibiting US arms sales to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates related to this war.

Early votes were all successful. Rep. Ted Lieu (D-CA) had two amendments passed:

Amendment 23: Blocks funding for assistance to continue hostilities in Yemen (239-187)
Amendment 24: Prohibits transfer of defense articles or services to Saudi Arabia & UAE (246-180)

These were followed by Amendment 26 from Rep. Adam Smith (D-WA), which prohibited all support of Saudi military operation against Yemen’s Houthis. This too passed 240-185.

More votes are expected, though the exact order and timing of the votes is not apparent. Another foreign policy related amendment, Amendment 31 from Rep. Elliott Engel (D-NY), which called for the extension of the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START), passed 236-189.

A 219-210 vote on an amendment from Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) set the stage for potential foreign base closures, by obligating that there be some sort of expressable rationale for why the base needs to be there.

Reps. Ro Khanna (D-CA) and Matt Gaetz (R-FL) offered an amendment on defunding any US war against Iran launched without any Congressional authorization. It passed a voice vote, but a floor vote was delayed.

Similar results ended debates on two other amendments which would end the 2001 and 2002 AUMFs. Advocates said the AUMFs were overly broad and obsolete, while opponents argued that it was dumb to even debate such issues, and that the military would want to keep such wars authorized.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of Antiwar.com.