March 1 (UPI) -- A bipartisan group of senators introduced a resolution Wednesday to end U.S. military support of Saudi Arabia in Yemen's civil war.
Sens. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt. and Mike Lee, R-Utah and Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., said the resolution shows that there is bipartisan support for ending U.S. involvement in the Yemen war, which began under President Barack Obama in 2015 and has continued under President Donald Trump.
Every 10 minutes, a child under the age of five dies of preventable causes in Yemen. What few Americans know, however, is that the U.S. military is making the crisis worse by helping one side in the conflict bomb innocent civilians. pic.twitter.com/AJ73tExMjw— Bernie Sanders (@SenSanders) February 28, 2018
The resolution refers to Article 1, Section 8 of the U.S. Constitution, which states that a U.S. president needs congressional approval to declare war. It also points to a specific law -- section 2(c) of the War Powers Resolution of 1973 - which says that the U.S. president can approve engagement in combat abroad "only pursuant to (1) a declaration of war, (2) specific statutory authorization, or (3) a national emergency created by attack upon the United States, its territories or possessions, or its armed forces."
"This resolution is very specific," a Sanders staffer told the Washington Examiner. "[It's] narrowly aimed at the authorization question," and not at whether U.S. involvement is justifiable.
At a press conference Wednesday, Sanders and Lee admitted that getting a Senate vote on the resolution will be a challenge, but said they would both push their parties to do so and that the principle of needing congressional approval to engage in military conflicts should be recognized.
"Importantly, this legislation is neither liberal or conservative, it's neither Democrat nor Republican," Lee said. "This is an American principle, a constitutional principle."
"Without Congressional authorization, our engagement in the war in Yemen should be restricted to providing desperately needed humanitarian aid, and diplomatic efforts to resolve it," Sanders said in a statement. "We have become far too comfortable with the United States engaging in military interventions all over the world. The time is long overdue for Congress to reassert its constitutional role in determining when and where our country goes to war."
In November, the House of Representatives overwhelmingly passed a resolution that declared the United States' involvement in Yemen is unauthorized.
"What our military is not authorized to do is assist the Saudi Arabian regime in fighting the Houthis," said Rep. Ro Khanna, D-Calif., a cosponsor of that bill, Politico reported. "In many cases, the Saudis have aligned with Al Qaeda to fight the Houthis undermining our very counterterrorism operations."