Washington—Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) today issued the following remarks in support of overturning President Trump’s veto of the Sanders-Murphy resolution that would end American involvement in the Yemen War.
“The Sanders-Murphy resolution would direct the president to end all U.S. support for the war in Yemen. Given the horrific consequences of the conflict, I strongly supported the resolution when it passed the Senate on March 13, 2019,” said Senator Feinstein. “I’m disappointed – but not surprised – by the president’s veto of it. The president’s apparent plan is to continue to support the Saudi coalition even though it’s clear that there is no military solution to this conflict. That is unacceptable.”
Senator Feinstein’s full remarks follow:
“I rise today in support of overriding President Trump’s veto of the Sanders-Murphy resolution.
The resolution would end U.S. involvement in the war in Yemen, which I believe is long overdue.
Saudi Arabia’s conduct in the war in Yemen has been deplorable.
It has purposefully attacked civilian infrastructure, including electricity generation facilities, water sanitation plants and medical facilities.
They’ve employed cluster munitions in civilian areas and used disproportionate force to attack military targets.
In one attack, the coalition killed more than 40 children on a school bus, claiming to this day that the bus was a legitimate military target.
While I’m pleased that the United States is no longer refueling coalition aircraft, I support ending all U.S. assistance for the Saudi-led coalition before thousands more die.
To date, more than 63,000 people have been killed as a direct result of the conflict.
If the conflict continues, an estimated 22,000 more people will be killed this year.
And that’s only direct combat deaths, which is highly misleading. The ongoing war, with U.S. support, has indirectly killed far more, with Yemen’s children bearing the brunt of the suffering.
Since 2014, more than 85,000 children have died of starvation. That’s worth repeating: more than 85,000 children have starved to death in the last four years in Yemen.
By the end of 2019, the total number of people in Yemen who will die from a lack of food, health services and infrastructure is expected to top 131,000.
Sixty percent of those killed will be children under the age of 5. In fact, a child in Yemen will die every 12 minutes unless we end this war.
The Saudi coalition’s purposeful destruction of Yemen’s civilian infrastructure, targeting of medical facilities and withholding of aid has led to the world’s worst humanitarian crisis:
- 14 million people require emergency food aid.
- A majority of Yemen’s population does not have access to clean water, sanitation or adequate public healthcare.
- Cholera and other diseases are rampant throughout Yemen as public services have collapsed.
- There have been 1.2 million suspected cases of cholera, resulting in 2,500 fatalities from this entirely preventable disease.
- Nearly three-quarters of the population – almost 22 million people – need some form of humanitarian assistance.
Sadly, the actions of the Trump administration have worsened the humanitarian harm. Through the president’s ‘Muslim ban,’ the administration has effectively trapped civilians in Yemen, sealing their fate.
The Trump administration has not accepted a single refugee from Yemen since October 2017. It has banned permanent immigration from Yemen, including immediate family members of U.S. citizens. And it has stopped issuing temporary visas.
The Trump administration has even refused to re-designate Temporary Protected Status for Yemen, making more than a thousand protected Yemenis subject to deportation.
The United States can help end the suffering in Yemen by halting all assistance to the Saudi-led coalition.
It could also accept Yemeni refugees, resume normal immigration and extend TPS to Yemenis currently in the United States. The Trump administration has callously decided to do nothing.
The Sanders-Murphy resolution would direct the president to end all U.S. support for the war in Yemen. Given the horrific consequences of the conflict, I strongly supported the resolution when it passed the Senate on March 13, 2019.
I’m disappointed – but not surprised – by the president’s veto of it. The president’s apparent plan is to continue to support the Saudi coalition even though it’s clear that there is no military solution to this conflict. That is unacceptable.
Unfortunately, the president’s unconditional support for Saudi Arabia is not limited to its conduct in Yemen.
Under the direction of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, Saudi Arabia murdered, dismembered, and disposed of the remains of a U.S. resident, Jamal Khashoggi.
To this day, the Saudi government continues to blame “rogue agents” for this heinous murder. They’re holding a secret trial for the so-called accused, refusing to cooperate with international investigations, and continuing to rely on the Trump administration to shield it from accountability.
Any nation that would murder a journalist inside its own diplomatic facility is no friend of the United States.
Any leader who would direct another human being to be dismembered with a bone saw is not fit to lead.
Let’s be clear: Mohammed bin Salman is responsible for Khashoggi’s murder. He’s not fit to lead the kingdom and must be held accountable for this crime.
Saudi Arabia has also arrested, tortured and prosecuted peaceful political activists – including women. It has kidnapped and forcefully repatriated Saudi nationals, executed religious minorities and even illegally detained U.S. citizens.
The vote before us today would send a clear message to Saudi Arabia that we do not support its heinous policy and actions.
I urge my colleagues to join me in sending that message.”