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How the Yemen Debate Has Played Out in Congress

For years, the crisis in Yemen has been ongoing. Since the U.S. response to the crisis has unfolded over the past couple months, it can be hard to keep up with the facts. Follow along as we lay out what has happened in the 116th Congress.


Legislation is introduced


January 30, 2019: Legislation is introduced in the Senate, titled “Directing the removal of United States Armed Forces from hostilities in the Republic of Yemen that have not been authorized by Congress.”


“We are taking up this resolution because we see a policy from this administration that has strayed from our values and a crisis that demands moral leadership, which is the war in Yemen.” -Rep. Eliot Engel, D-N.Y., chairman of House Foreign Affairs Committee in a floor speech, April 4, 2019 (Scroll down to see how a Republican representative responded)

This resolution requires the President to remove United States Armed Forces from hostilities in or affecting the Republic of Yemen by no later than 30 days after the date of the enactment of the joint resolution.

Read the full summary



Representatives respond


After the bill’s introduction, representatives on both sides voiced their opinion on the bill. See what your representatives said.



The resolution goes to a vote


March 13, 2019: the Senate passed the resolution 54-46.

April 4, 2019: the House passed the resolution 247-175.


“This precedent will empower any single Member to use privileged war powers procedures to force congressional referendums that could disrupt U.S. security cooperation agreements with more than 100 countries around the world...I believe this would be a dangerous precedent to legitimize this abuse of process.” -Rep. Michael McCaul, R-T.X., ranking member of House Foreign Affairs Committee in a floor speech, April 4, 2019


To Veto or Not to Veto?


If you remember the steps of how a bill becomes a law, you already know that the legislation must go to the President to either be signed into law or vetoed.


April 16, 2019: President Trump issued the second veto of his presidency on this resolution.


Attempt to Override


However, a veto doesn’t always mean the end of the road for a piece of legislation. A two-thirds majority of those present and voting in the Senate can override a veto.


May 2, 2019: The Senate attempted and failed to override, with a vote tally of 53-45.



That is the end of the road for this piece of legislation, but that doesn’t mean you have to be done following your representatives. Next time you have questions about a bill or resolution, escape the partisan hackery and get just the facts on Vote Smart’s Key Votes page.


If you want to see what an individual has to say on any given topic, you can search by keyword in the “speeches” section of their personal page. If you want to see what all representatives have to say on an issue, search here.


Have another question you can’t find the answer to? Call our Voter Hotline at 1-888-VOTE-SMART or email us at research@votesmart.org.

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