Washington D.C. – Yesterday, Lead Foreign Affairs Republican Michael McCaul (R-TX) and other Republican members took to the House floor to oppose the Democrats’ Yemen War Powers Resolution, H.J. Res. 37. The Yemen measure offered yesterday was a dangerous and improper misuse of the War Powers Resolution exploiting a privileged statutory tool for removing U.S. forces from foreign combat although there are none there. Further, This sets a dangerous precedent that endangers U.S. security cooperation around the world.

Even though this War Powers Resolution was fundamentally flawed, Members used this House action to address two critically important issues:

1. Ensuring the continuation of intelligence sharing with our security partners; and

2. Unequivocally affirming the commitment of the United States to combating anti-Semitism at home and abroad, and the national security interest we have in confronting hateful challenges to the legitimacy of the democratic state of Israel.

While our Committee Members were pleased these amendments passed, these provisions could not fix the fatal flaws of the Democrats’ Yemen War Powers Resolution because of the dangerous precedent it sets with the misuse of the statutory War Powers tool for unrelated purposes. Here’s what you need to know: 

Lead Foreign Affairs Republican McCaul on the dangerous misuse of the Yemen War Powers Resolution and its damaging pro-Houthi, pro-Iran effects:

For full remarks as delivered, click on the photo above or here. 

Lead Republican McCaul: “I am deeply troubled by the one-sided nature of this resolution and what is missing from this resolution, what I just stated earlier, and that is Iran, the world’s leading state sponsor of terror, and the Houthis’ benefactor. By staying silent on Iran and by not condemning the Houthis in this resolution, it sends a green light to the Houthis and to their Iranian backers to press on. This resolution is counterproductive also to the efforts that are ongoing right now to negotiate peace in Yemen between the Houthi rebels and the government of Yemen.

“As we speak, the U.N. envoy is working with the full support of the United States to negotiate a political resolution to this conflict. Getting to these talks has required placing substantial pressure on all parties involved. The U.N. is encouraging the Houthis to uphold these agreements and to make further with the Yemeni government and the Saudi-led coalition, but this resolution might cut the U.N. efforts off at its knees. The Democrats can’t tell specifically what assistance this resolution cuts off, but what I can say for sure is that if this — what this resolution says to the Houthis and to Iran is, you’ve got a green light. Keep going on. You can gain more ground and cause more destruction and humanitarian crisis…

“Advancing this pro-Houthi, pro-Iran, anti-Israel resolution does not help to end this war in Yemen, it only emboldens the rebels and Iran who violently overthrew Yemen’s government and the radical regime that backs them, Iran. So I would say, Mr. Chairman, in closing, this resolution is not only a dangerous precedent legally, it violates the construction of the War Powers Act, but it is damaging and very bad policy and I urge my colleagues to vote against.”

House Armed Services Committee Lead Republican Mac Thornberry (R-TX) discusses how the irresponsible Yemen War Powers Resolution will make our military more cautious in targeting ISIS & al-Qaeda and lead to a more dangerous influence in the Middle East:

For full remarks as delivered, click on the photo above or here

Lead Republican Mac Thornberry: “If anything, this resolution will make our military more cautious when targeting ISIS and al-Qaeda. Now, there’s a section in here that says, well, it doesn’t really apply when you’re going against terrorists, but Yemen is a messy place. You have individuals co-mingled in the same location, sometimes the same individual can have multiple loyalties. Our military will be overly cautious in interpreting this resolution. They will be less likely to target ISIS and al-Qaeda. and, Mr. Chairman, don’t forget, it wasn’t very long ago, the most serious threats coming to our homeland, to Americans emanated from Yemen. This adds danger to the world …

“If this passes [and signed] into law, it will not help the people of Yemen one iota. There’s lots of things we just heard from the author of the resolution why he does not approve of some of the actions going on with Saudi Arabia. This does not help any of that. It is an attempt to make us feel better, that we’ve at least done something, and yet the result is we reduce our influence in the Middle East, we encourage and enhance the position of Iran and we lead to a more dangerous world for us.”

Ranking Member on the Middle East, North Africa, and International Terrorism Subcommittee Joe Wilson (R-SC) speaks on how the underlying resolution endangers intelligence sharing with our security partners:

For full remarks as delivered, click on the photo above or here

Subcommittee Ranking Member Wilson: “This is not my independent assessment but the determination of the Department of Defense. The U.S. is currently supporting the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen by providing targeting assistance, intelligence sharing, and joint planning to defeat the Houthi rebels who are armed by Iran with missiles that they have directed at civilian airports in Saudi Arabia. There is no doubt that the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen has made terrible targeting mistakes, but what would happen if the U.S. were to pull the plug on our intelligence sharing and targeting cooperation? Would this improve the coalition’s targeting or possibly make it worse, increasing the chances for collateral challenge and civilian casualties? I am concerned if we walk away now, these terrible tragedies will simply multiply.”

*Note: This issue was addressed by the Republican-led Buck amendment.

Ranking Member on the Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee Lee Zeldin (R-NY) discusses the dangerous precedent set by the War Powers Resolution despite the existence of other Congressional oversight mechanisms:

For full remarks as delivered, click on the photo above or here

Subcommittee Ranking Member Zeldin: “I rise today in opposition to H.J. Res 37, directing the removal of U.S. Armed Forces from unauthorized hostilities in Yemen. One of the reasons why is because we aren’t even engaged in hostilities in Yemen. The United States is not involved in any direct live fire exchanges. Last November the U.S. stopped aerial refueling of Saudi jets… If anyone wants to propose a bill and pass one cutting off or conditioning specified assistance to Saudi Arabia they have the ability to do so. That is not this bill. What’s also important is there are a lot of freshman members here in this chamber, and the fact we are rushing this to the floor so quickly without having a classified briefing for all of those members is also deeply unfortunate. That should take place before passing this resolution. Congress has many other ways to engage in oversight efforts for the U.S. security assistance with Saudi Arabia, including approving arms sales and through appropriations.”