On Thursday, the House passed an amendment for its version of the 2022 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) that would end all US support for the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen. The measure passed by a slim margin in a vote of 219 to 207.
The amendment, sponsored by Rep. Ro Khanna (D-CA), would terminate “US military logistical support, and the transfer of spare parts to Saudi warplanes conducting aerial strikes against the Houthis in Yemen and permanently ends intelligence sharing that enables offensive strikes and any US effort to command, coordinate, participate in the movement of, or accompany Saudi or United Arab Emirates-led coalition forces in the war in Yemen.”
For the amendment to become law, it would have to be on the final version of the NDAA, which will be negotiated between the House and Senate in conference committee.
The House passed another Yemen amendment sponsored by Rep. Gregory Meeks (D-NY) that calls for the suspension of the US servicing of Saudi warplanes that are responsible for civilian casualties in Yemen, although the wording leaves room for exceptions that the Biden administration could take advantage of to continue the war. The Meeks amendment passed in a vote of 223 to 204.
The Meeks amendment would require “the suspension of US sustainment and maintenance support to Saudi air force units responsible for airstrikes resulting in civilian casualties in Yemen with certain exemptions for territorial self-defense, counterterrorism operations, and defense of US government facilities or personnel.”
Back in February, President Biden vowed to end support for the Saudi-led coalition’s “offensive” operations in Yemen. But it was revealed in April that the US is still maintaining Saudi warplanes that are bombing Yemen. Last week, the State Department approved a $500 million contract to service Saudi helicopters, including Apache and Black Hawk attack helicopters. Without such US support, Saudi Arabia’s air force would quickly be grounded.
Another aspect of the war is the US-backed blockade the coalition has imposed on Yemen. The blockade coupled with the brutal bombing campaign that began in 2015 has caused widespread disease and mass starvation in the country.
In February, the UN warned that 400,000 Yemeni children under the age of five will die of starvation in 2021 alone if conditions don’t change, which means hundreds of thousands of children could have already died this year.
Also on Thursday, the House rejected an amendment sponsored by Rep. Jamal Bowman (D-NY) that would prohibit a US military presence in Syria without the approval of Congress in a vote of 141 to 286. The House also rejected a measure sponsored by Rep. John Garamendi (D-CA) that would have blocked funding for new intercontinental ballistic missile systems in a vote of 118 to 299.