July 19, 2022
Dear Members of Congress,
We, the undersigned organizations representing millions of Americans, strongly urge you to support the Yemen War Powers Resolution, H.J.Res. 87 , led by Reps. Nancy Mace (R-S.C.) and Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.), which would end the United States’ undeclared military involvement in the Saudi war in Yemen, absent explicit congressional authorization. The resolution is also cosponsored by nine other House Republicans, in support of Congress’s reassertion of Article I war powers.
As Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution makes clear , the legislative branch holds the sole power to declare war. Unfortunately, the United States’ support for the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen clearly ignores this clause and risks putting our men and women in uniform in harm’s way, in addition to risking countless innocent Yemeni lives, without proper congressional oversight and debate in the legislature vested explicitly with this power.
In the month that we celebrate Independence Day, it is critical that those in public service reflect on the impacts of unchecked military involvement on everyday Americans and whether those actions make us freer. The Declaration of Independence itself warned  of the potential for danger when a singular executive can abuse war powers. The Declaration’s signers opined of King George that, “He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil power.” Those who founded our nation appropriately found reason to place significant checks on the use of military power.
James Madison, the father of the Constitution, also wrote  that, “In no part of the constitution is more wisdom to be found than in the clause which confides the question of war or peace to the legislature, and not to the executive department.” Madison continues, “[T]he trust and the temptation would be too great for any one man…War is in fact the true nurse of executive aggrandizement.” As a branch well known  for reaching beyond its bounds with rulemakings and orders, the executive should be restrained where feasible, and conservatives should support this goal.
The United States’ current support for the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen is a clear example of the concerns raised by the Founders. In March 2015, President Barack Obama authorized  “the provision of logistical and intelligence support” to the coalition, which escalated  over time to mid-air refueling of Saudi planes and targeted assistance for the active bombing of Yemen. Many of these same practices continued  under President Donald Trump and continue today under President Joe Biden, who has continued the war despite promises  to cease U.S. support for offensive operations and publicly supporting ending the war in Yemen.
The founding fathers foresaw this type of outcome, which is why they made clear in the Constitution that Congress should have final say over the actions of the commander in chief when it comes to the questions of war.
With bipartisan support growing by the year, it is time for Congress to take the next step. Resolutions  spearheaded by Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) in 2018 invoking the War Powers Act over Yemen led to the successful passage  of legislation through both chambers in 2019. Passing H.J.Res. 87 now will hold President Biden accountable to his promises to the American people.
We urge you to cosponsor the Yemen War Powers Resolution, H.J.Res. 87 , and to vote in favor of the resolution when it comes to the House floor.
R Street Institute
Concerned Veterans for America
Taxpayers Protection Alliance
- “H.J.Res. 87”: https://www.congress.gov/bill/117th-congress/house-joint-resolution/87?s=1&r=28
- “clear”: https://constitution.congress.gov/browse/article-1/section-8/clause-11/
- “warned”: https://www.archives.gov/founding-docs/declaration-transcript
- “wrote”: https://press-pubs.uchicago.edu/founders/documents/a2_2_2-3s15.html
- “well known”: http://fw-d7-freedomworks-org.s3.amazonaws.com/IB_1_2020_Restoring_the_Balance_of_Powers.pdf
- “authorized”: https://obamawhitehouse.archives.gov/the-press-office/2015/03/25/statement-nsc-spokesperson-bernadette-meehan-situation-yemen
- “escalated”: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/03/18/us/politics/trump-saudi-yemen.html
- “continued”: https://www.politico.com/news/magazine/2022/06/16/biden-saudi-arabia-yemen-00039578
- “promises”: https://www.brookings.edu/blog/order-from-chaos/2021/09/16/bidens-broken-promise-on-yemen/
- “Resolutions”: https://www.freedomworks.org/content/yemen-vote-senate-republicans-overwhelmingly-deny-constitution
- “passage”: https://www.c-span.org/congress/bills/bill/?116/sjres7