For this essay I decide to choose the Yemen Resolution as my piece of legislation to write about since it has caused such a huge debate within Washington D.C and throughout the nation. The official name for this piece of legislation is the S. J. RES. 54 which is a joint resolution for the removal of United States armed forces from the Republic of Yemen that has not been authorized by congress to be there. To understand why the United States of America is involved with the war in Yemen, you have first look at the backstory of what caused the war and the USA relationship to Saudi Arabic. Throughout the process of this assignment I will be trying to understand why this piece of legislation was passed, the main sponsors and the effects it will have on the United States government and citizens.
Over the last couple of decades, our government has been trying to repair our relationship with the oil-rich Saudi Arabia. A good relationship with Saudi Arabia allows for the USA to have an Islam ally country within the Middle East. In the last couple of year, the United States of America has been supporting a Saudi Arabic led coalition in Yemen against the Iranian-backed Houthi rebels. The Saudi Arabian led an intervention into Yemen in 2015 after Houthi rebel group took up arms against the Yemen government who they believe have been oppressing them for many years. The Houthi are Shiite Muslims while the Yemen government is ruled by Sunni Muslims. For generations, all across the Islamic world Shiite and Sunni Muslims have fought wars against other and oppressed the minority group within their country. The belief of who’s religion is the right version of Islam is an endless and timeless battle that has and will continue to go on for generations to come. There have been many wars and battles between the two denominations of Islam, but never a war lead to such destruction and death. In the 20th and 20th we have not seen a humanitarian crisis of this magnitude. The war in Yemen has led to millions of people being displaced from their homes, thousands of innocent civilians dying from the crossfire and hundreds of thousands of citizens going hungry at night. The United State of America has played a massive role with on-going war in Yemen because we have continuously supported Saudi Arabic by providing military aid, sending weapons and giving the Saudi Military training on how to use US manufacture planes, and other weapons. In the last couples of years, Saudi Arabic has become the leader for buying weapons from the United States of America.
The support for Saudi Arabic has begun to dwindle over the duration of President Donald Trump being president and the constant human rights abuse claims against Saudi Arabic. Our government and the citizens of the United States of America has become divided on the issues of should we withdraw support, or should we remain loyal to an ally who fighting “terrorist”. The decision to withdraw support has divided our executive and legislative even more. President Donald J. Trump released a statement on November 18,2018 declaring his support for Saudi Arabic, “After my heavily negotiated trip to Saudi Arabia last year, the Kingdom agreed to spend and invest $450 billion in the United States. This is a record amount of money. It will create hundreds of thousands of jobs, tremendous economic development, and much additional wealth for the United States. Of the $450 billion, $110 billion will be spent on the purchase of military equipment from Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Raytheon and many other great U.S. defense contractors. If we foolishly cancel these contracts, Russia and China would be the enormous beneficiaries – and very happy to acquire all of this newfound business. It would be a wonderful gift to them directly from the United States” (Donald Trump). This quote shows that President Trump is more worried about the amount of income revenue we will receive from Saudi Arabic rather than the international laws we are helping them commit. It hard to break a relationship with a country when there are huge economic benefits we can and are receiving from them. President Trump is not willing to allow the war in Yemen to break the relationship with Saudi Arabic after years of USA president trying to get closer to that country. It is a harsh reality, but the United States of America is a country that is only looking out for itself and its our citizens. President Trump and many presidents before him, were willing to do anything to help generate a profit for our economy. In one way, I do understand why President Trump is siding with Saudi Arabic because it is benefiting our country, however it is hard to know that USA is helping in creating one of the biggest humanitarian crises since the Syria War.
On the other hand, there are many people in Washington D.C who disagree with our support of Saudi Arabic led coalition in Yemen against the Iranian-backed Houthi rebels. One of the biggest opponents is Bernie Sanders who was the main sponsor on the bill and introduced this bill into the Senate. In addition to Bernie Sanders, this bill has eighteen co-sponsors Sen. Lee, Mike [R-UT], Sen. Murphy, Christopher [D-CT], Sen. Booker, Cory A. [D-NJ] ,Sen. Durbin, Richard J. [D-IL], Sen. Warren, Elizabeth [D-MA], Sen. Markey, Edward J. [D-MA], Sen. Leahy, Patrick J. [D-VT], Sen. Feinstein, Dianne [D-CA], Sen. Wyden, Ron [D-OR], Sen. Blumenthal, Richard [D-CT], Sen. Gillibrand, Kirsten E. [D-NY],Sen. Baldwin, Tammy [D-WI], Sen. Merkley, Jeff [D-OR], Sen. Schatz, Brian [D-HI], Sen. Kaine, Tim [D-VA], Sen. Harris, Kamala D. [D-CA], Sen. Brown, Sherrod [D-OH], Sen. Peters, Gary C. [D-MI]. One thing you notice from this long list of co-sponsors is there are seventeen democrats and one republican, which makes me think that many fellow republicans are against the bill or their constituents aren’t opposed to the war in Yemen.
Bernie Sander was the original sponsors of this resolution and was highly critical towards our support for Saudi Arabic in Yemen. “This war is both a humanitarian and a strategic disaster, and Congress has the opportunity to end it” (Bernie Sanders). The war in Yemen has caused more harm than good, even though Houthi believed they are fighting for the opposed part of the Yemeni population they have contributed to the destruction of their whole society. Before the war even started, Yemen was already one of the poorest countries within the middle east and the world causing to already be hard for its citizens. Bernie Sanders understands that because of the help the United States of America is providing to Saudi Arabic it has caused even more damaged within Yemen. As a member of congress, Sanders can see that we have an opportunity to bring our armed forces back from Yemen without seriously damaging our relationship within the countries of the middle east. Right now, there has been a lot of scandal surrounding the country of Saudi Arabic, so it is the perfect opportunity to stop helping aid them in a war that has nothing to do with the United States of America or an of our interests. I think this why the democrats and republicans are so divided on the issues because republicans are afraid of losing relations with Saudi Arabic while the Democrats are more worried about the ethnically issues, we are helping create.
Before this bill was voted on and passed in both the congress and house of representatives, it was a part of one committee which was called Senate Foreign Relations. The main authors of this bill are Bernie Sanders and Mike Lee who both introduced the bill on the same day. Bernie Sander is a highly respected political leader who is currently apart of the independent party and has been in office since 1981 in many different political positions. He is currently one of the senators from Vermont and has been a senator for the state since 2007, Sanders is the longest serving independent in congressional history. Bernie Sanders is one of the more outspoken members of Senate against our current president and the many of the political choices we have made over the last two years of his presidency. Sanders is a chair on numerous committees which are the Committee on the Budget, Committee on Environment and Public Works, Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions, and Committee on Veterans’ Affairs. “As an independent, Sanders worked out a deal with the Senate Democratic leadership in which he agreed to vote with the Democrats on all procedural matters unless the Democratic whip, Dick Durbin, agreed that he need not (a request rarely made or granted). In return, he was allowed to keep his seniority and received the committee seats that would have been available to him as a Democrat” (Wiki). Even though Sanders is considering and presented as a member of the Independent, many of his views and votes align with the Democrat party.
Bernie Sander was one of the most popular candidates running for presidency in the 2016 election, only to lose the democratic the ballot to Hillary Clinton. Throughout the election, Sanders rallied around the ideas of universal healthcare, increasing taxes for the wealthy, higher-education for all and environmental change. His idea made many older American and conservative view him as a socialist who was trying to change our country into a place like Sweden or Norway. However, millions of young Americans rallied around this candidate who brought new light in the presidential race. Even though, Sanders ended up not getting on chosen as the democratic ballot candidate, he gained millions of supporters all throughout the nations and became one of the most popular senators in congress. The voice and support Bernie Sanders has gotten allows for his to openly criticize President Donald Trump, the republican party and many other things happening within our nation.
The state of Vermont has gradually become a dominate democrat state since the early 1990’s to now. This state has been on the forefront for leading the way to equal rights for members of the LGBTQ community. Compared to many states Vermont is more liberal leaning with their views and the way their citizens votes. I think Bernie Sander was acting in the best interest of his constituents because this is one of the states who has always tried to protect people rights.
Mike Lee is politician from the state of Utah even though he is originally from Arizona who elected in January 3,2011. He is the son of Rex Lee who was the Solicitor General of the United States under President Ronald Regan. Lee is a chair on numerous committees which are Committee on the Judiciary, Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation and Joint Economic Committee. As a member of the Senate, Lee is a conservative who have voted with President Donald Trump about 80% of the time since he has taken off. Within the congress, Lee is considered one of the biggest supporters of President Donald Trump is a huge opposer to the democratic party involvement in the Muller case. “We’ve got people, who for the last two years have been using the Russian’s attempt to undermine the legitimacy of our electoral process as an effort within this country to undermine this president, and the process by which he was elected” (Mike Lee). This quote shows the Mike Lee has the belief that many senators and representatives who are democrats have been trying to sabotage President Trump presidency since the beginning. Lee believes the Muller case is just being used an excuse for the democratic party to try and impeach President Donald Trump.
The state of Utah is a predominately red state with conservative views with a majority of people voting republican; however, Utah has always had soft spot in their hearts for refugees and people being persecuted. In Utah about 2.1 million of the population are members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, this religion has been persecuted and forced to live their land before, so they seem to have a soft spot when others are experiencing similar things. I think Mike Lee was acting in the best interest of his constituent when he helped co-write this resolution. The war in Yemen is more than a civil war between the government and its citizens, it is a war for freedom and fighting against oppression based on your religion which the citizens in Utah can related to.
Political parties played a large factor in the passing of this legislation. From just looking at the sponsors of this resolution you notice that there is only one republican meanwhile there are 17 democrats which shows many in the republican party were not huge supporters of this resolution. The senate ended up passing the resolution to end US support of Saudi Arabic in Yemen by the count of 54-46 on March 13, 2019. Then the Yemen resolution proceeded to the House vote and was passed with a vote of 247-175 on April 4, 2019. However, now the bill will go to the president desk and it is believed that President Trump will issue his first veto of his presidency with this bill. Since President Trump is very keen on keeping a close relationship with Saudi Arabic, he will not want to do anything that may upset them. The senate is currently controlled by the republican party so in order for this bill to have passed, the democrats has to persuade three swing republicans to their side. Meanwhile the house of representative is controlled by the democratic party now, so getting the legislative passed there was not as hard because people rarely vote against their own house.
Member of congress definitely followed their own political parties opinion when voting on this resolution. Only four republicans voted Yes on this resolution which were Sen. Moran, Jerry [R-KS], Sen. Paul, Rand [R-KY], Sen. Daines, Steve [R-MT] and Sen. Lee, Mike [R-UT]. These four separated themselves from their political parties view and voted with their person conscience. From the start of this bill, being introduced people opinion has stayed pretty much the same. There are people on both sides of different political parties who want to see the United States of America withdrawn support and there are also people who see the benefit of USA helping with Saudi Arabic led collision. It depends on a person personally view on the matter and what they may believe in. Depending on the state, you reside in I think some people opinions on the matter is unsimilar because of the region they live in. The media can also factor into how an American see our involvement in Yemen, depending on the news channel you watch the things you see and hear can be completely different.
In the end, each member of congress has their own agenda when I come to voting on a bill or resolution to be pass. It is hard to distinguish when a congressmen or congresswomen are voting on the behalf of their state’s citizens or personal belief. In the government system of the United States of America we elected people to offices for them to represent our beliefs and voice our opinions to the government. However, there are hundreds of thousands or millions in each state so every time an elected official votes it may not be what you wanted but it is impossible to make everyone in your state happy. The biggest issue I see happening with this resolution is the possible of it becoming President Donald Trump first veto. President Trump has publicly stated that he will veto the bill if it was passed it the Senate. Even though the resolution has passed in the senate if the president decide to veto the bill, it would take 2/3 of the senate and house of representative to override the veto.
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