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Sens. Bernie Sanders and Mike Lee introducing their joint resolution. Photo: Mark Wilson / Getty Images

A bipartisan resolution was introduced in Congress on Thursday by Sens. Bernie Sanders, Chris Murphy, and Mike Lee, to end U.S. support for the Saudi-led coalition in the war in Yemen.

Why it matters: Yemen has been completely torn apart by the conflict between the Houthi rebel forces and the Saudi-led coalition which supports President Abdrabbuh Mansour Hadi. The U.S. military has been supporting the Saudi coalition since the Obama administraiton. Sanders, Lee, and Murphy argue that Congress did not approve involvement, and therefore the U.S. should not be involved "beyond providing desperately needed humanitarian aid."

What they're doing
  • The lawmakers are citing the War Powers Act of 1973, which limits a presidents power to enter into war without Congress' authorization.
  • They wrote in a Washington Post op-ed: "It is true that the president may order military operations in limited emergency situations...But the far-off civil war in Yemen, while tragic, is not an emergency."
  • Also in the Post, they say: "Under the 2001 Authorization for the Use of Military Force (AUMF)...any U.S. military action in Yemen must be limited and only directed against groups affiliated with al-Qaeda...Engaging in a war against Yemeni Houthi rebels does not qualify."
  • Sen. Sanders said in a press release: "We believe that, as Congress has not declared war or authorized military force in this conflict, the United States involvement in Yemen is unconstitutional and unauthorized, and U.S. military support of the Saudi coalition must end."
  • Former U.S. Ambassador to Yemen, Stephen Seche, told Axios: "The joint resolution introduced today in the Senate reflects deepening Congressional concern over U.S. complicity in the humanitarian disaster unfolding in Yemen as a result of material support being provided by our armed forces to the Saudi-led coalition’s nearly three-year war against the Houthi rebels."
What the Pentagon is doing
  • The Huffington Post reported on Wednesday that the DOD's acting general counsel said in a letter: "It has been the longstanding view of the Executive Branch that 'hostilities' refers to 'a situation in which units of U.S. armed forces are actively engaged in exchanges of fire with opposing units of hostile forces.' U.S. personnel providing support to the KSA-led coalition are not engaged in any such exchange of fire."
What to watch for
  • The lawmakers said on Thursday they would "try to move it through the Senate Foreign Relations Committee," the Washington Post reports.
  • This could get interesting: Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is planning to visit the U.S. in late March.

Go deeper

Caitlin Owens, author of Vitals
4 hours ago - Health

Biden taps ex-FDA chief to lead Operation Warp Speed amid rollout of COVID plan

Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

President-elect Joe Biden has picked former FDA chief David Kessler to lead Operation Warp Speed, a day after unveiling a nearly $2 trillion pandemic relief plan that includes $400 billion for directly combatting the virus.

Why it matters: Biden's transition team said Kessler has been advising the president-elect since the beginning of the pandemic, and hopes his involvement will help accelerate vaccination, the New York Times reports. Operation Warp Speed's current director, Moncef Slaoui, will stay on as a consultant.

The case of the missing relief money

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

A chunk of stimulus payments is missing in action, thanks to a mix up that put as many as 13 million checks into invalid bank accounts.

Why it matters: The IRS (by law) was supposed to get all payments out by Friday. Now the onus could shift to Americans to claim the money on their tax refund — further delaying relief to struggling, lower-income Americans.

The post-Trump GOP, gutted

McConnell (L), McCarthy (R) and Trump. Photo: Erin Schaff-Pool/Getty Images

Republicans will emerge from the Trump era gutted financially, institutionally and structurally.

The big picture: The losses are stark and substantial.