Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Florida Rep. Al Lawson was among five Democrats who sided with GOP to block vote on Saudi Arabia's war in Yemen

Posted By on Wed, Dec 12, 2018 at 5:58 PM

  • Photo via Rep. Al Lawson/Facebook
U.S. Rep. Al Lawson of Jacksonville, Florida was among five House Democrats to side with Republicans on Wednesday, voting for a bill that quells the prospect of halting U.S. aid to Saudi-led forces in Yemen.

The farm bill squeezed ahead Wednesday afternoon with a 206-203 vote after Republicans inserted a floor rule preventing — for the next year — legislation seeking to end U.S. involvement in the conflict in Yemen, a proxy war between U.S.-backed Saudi forces and the Iranian-backed Houthi rebels.

The rule states the provision "shall not apply during the remainder of the One Hundred Fifteenth Congress to a concurrent resolution introduced pursuant to section 5 of the War Powers Resolution (50 U.S.C. 1544) with respect to Yemen."

185 Democrats and 18 Republicans voted against the bill. The five Democrats, including Rep. Lawson, that joined the rest of the GOP were Rep. Jim Costa from California, Rep. Collin Peterson from Minnesota, Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger from Maryland and Rep. David Scott from Georgia.

Rep. Lawson was not immediately available for comment.

House Democrats have routinely called for an end to U.S. aid to Saudi Arabia in Yemen after the conflict has so far claimed up to 17,000 civilian casualties since its start in 2015, according to a U.N. report.

The war drastically worsened on Aug. 9 when a coalition airstrike hit a school bus in the northern Yemen province Saada using U.S.-made munitions, killing 40 children and 11 adults.

Calls to end military and economic support for Saudi Arabia intensified — and grew more bipartisan — after a CIA report revealed Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman ordered the killing of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi in October.

The Republican-led effort to prevent legislation from reducing U.S. aid to Saudi Arabia comes just before the Senate moves to pass a resolution that requires the U.S. military to end its involvement aiding Riyadh's footing in Yemen.

If passed, the action would be seen as a rebuke to Trump, who publicly chose to support the Saudi Crown Prince after Khashoggi's killing in order to prioritize lucrative defense contracts.

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