Thursday, April 4, 2019

House Passes WPA Resolution Ending US Support for Yemen War, Sends to White House (for likely veto)

The House today passed a joint resolution under the War Powers Act calling for the removal of U.S. armed forces from hostilities in Yemen that haven't been authorized by Congress. The Senate previously passed the measure.

The House's approval marks the first time that both chambers have approved a resolution under the WPA. President Trump says he'll veto it.

Here's the text of the resolution. Here's a Congressional Research Service report on the history and uses of the WPA, updated just last month.

Section 5(c) of the WPA (50 U.S.C. Sec. 1544(c)) says that "at any time that United States Armed Forces are engaged in hostilities outside the territory of the United States, its possessions and territories without a declaration of war or specific statutory authorization, such forces shall be removed by the President if the Congress so directs."

Under the resolution passed today,

Congress hereby directs the President to remove United States Armed Forces from hostilities in or affecting the Republic of Yemen, except United States Armed Forces engaged in operations directed at al Qaeda or associated forces, by not later than the date that is 30 days after the date of the enactment of this joint resolution . . . and unless and until a declaration of war or specific authorization for such use of United States Armed Forces has been enacted. For purposes of this resolution, in this section, the term "hostilities" includes in-flight refueling of non-United States aircraft conducting missions as part of the ongoing civil war in Yemen.

That last bit is an acknowledgment that there's some dispute between Congress and the White House as to what constitutes "hostilities," and an effort to clarify. The CRS report talks a little about this starting on page 61.

Congressional Authority, Executive Authority, News, Separation of Powers, War Powers | Permalink


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