Washington, D.C. – Congressman Smith released the following statement today after voting to oppose H. Res. 599:
November 14, 2017
“Last night, the House of Representatives voted on H.Res. 599, which expressed concern over the ongoing conflict between the coalition of nations led by Saudi Arabia and the Houthis in Yemen. I voted against H.Res. 599. I believe the resolution did not go far enough to articulate Saudi Arabia’s role in creating and perpetuating the ongoing humanitarian crisis. Instead, the resolution placed a disproportionate level of blame on Iran. Iran remains a detriment to peace and stability in Yemen, however, Saudi Arabia should also be held accountable for their actions.
“It is critical that the United States not choose sides in this war. I fear that our historical relationship with Saudi Arabia has resulted in de facto support for the conflict. Understanding that this resolution was a compromise with Republicans in the House, the lack of any enforceable provision removing U.S. support was reason to vote against it. While I do believe that Saudi Arabia is an important ally in the Middle East, the fact is that the people of Yemen currently face a fractured civil infrastructure that has led to what could be the world’s largest Cholera outbreak in history – on top of blockaded ports that have stymied the flow of humanitarian supplies.
“Something must change. I am a cosponsor of H.Con.Res. 81, a War Powers resolution introduced by Representative Ro Khanna that would help stop the United States from endorsing what is a nearly intractable conflict. Congress has a critical role to play, and any American involvement can and must be debated transparently. Ultimately, we must find a way to help bring about a peaceful conclusion to this conflict, and that invests heavily in humanitarian assistance for the Yemeni people – including rebuilding their nation after this debilitating period.”