WASHINGTON (AP) - House Speaker Nancy Pelosi called on President Donald Trump Tuesday to sign into law a resolution ending American involvement in the war in Yemen.
“The situation in Yemen … has left an indelible scar and stain on the conscience of the world,” Pelosi told reporters. She said the resolution passed by Congress last week sets “a standard for what kinds of military engagements we take part in.”
Trump has already pledged to veto the measure.
Under the War Powers Resolution enacted in 1973, the president is required to “consult with Congress before introducing United States Armed Forces into hostilities.”
The White House statement threatening a veto argued U.S. support for the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen does not constitute engaging in “hostilities,” meaning the War Powers Act doesn’t apply. It also said the bill raises “serious constitutional concerns.”
The conflict in Yemen has ground on for more than four years, killing thousands and leaving millions on the brink of famine.
Opposition to U.S. involvement in the Saudi-led war in Yemen grew in the aftermath of the killing of U.S.-based journalist Jamal Khashoggi by Saudi Arabian agents last year. Lawmakers from both parties are frustrated Trump hasn’t done more to condemn the kingdom’s leaders after the incident.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was questioned Tuesday by lawmakers about the Trump administration’s response to the Khashoggi killing. Pompeo told a Senate subcommittee the administration was “continuing to pursue facts” and “when we find the facts we will apply the law appropriately.”
The State Department announced Monday it would deny entry to 16 Saudis over their roles in Khashoggi’s killing. The action was taken under the 2019 State Department appropriations bill, which requires Pompeo to deny entry to individuals “involved in significant corruption or gross violations of human rights.”
Saudi Arabia has been a key U.S. security and economic partner for decades. The U.S. has supported the kingdom’s involvement in Yemen since 2015 with intelligence sharing, logistical support and inflight refueling.
Trump administration officials argue withdrawing American involvement could diminish chances for a negotiated peace and lead to even higher numbers of civilian casualties.
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