BURLINGTON, Vt., April 22 – U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders called on his colleagues Monday to support a vote overriding President Donald Trump’s veto of a resolution directing the removal of United States armed forces from the Saudi-led intervention in Yemen.
On April 16, Trump used the second veto of his presidency to reject the joint resolution – the first War Powers Resolution passed by Congress to end an unauthorized war.
“The president’s action is a very serious challenge to Congressional authority that demands a response,” Sanders wrote in a letter to his fellow senators.
Sanders’ full letter is below:
On April 16, President Donald Trump used the second veto of his presidency to reject the Senate Joint Resolution directing the removal of United States armed forces from the Saudi-led intervention in the Republic of Yemen. This resolution was passed in the Senate on March 13, 2019, by a bipartisan vote of 54-46, and then in the House on April 4 by a bipartisan vote of 247-175.
I am writing to ask for your support for over-riding that veto.
The president’s action is a very serious challenge to Congressional authority that demands a response.
Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution states clearly: “Congress shall have power to . . . declare war.” While the president has the authority over the conduct of war once it has been declared, the Founding Fathers gave the power to authorize military conflicts to Congress, the branch most accountable to the people.
Under the War Powers Act of 1973, the assignment of a member of the United States armed forces to “command, coordinate, participate in the movement of, or accompany” another country’s military during a war constitutes the introduction of the United States into a conflict. Our military involvement in the war in Yemen, which has included logistical and intelligence support, as well as aerial refueling of Saudi war planes, clearly meets this definition.
For far too long Congress, under both Democratic and Republican administrations, has abdicated its Constitutional role with regard to the authorization of war. The historic passage of this resolution, the first time since the 1973 War Powers Resolution was passed that it has been successfully used to withdraw the United States from an unauthorized war, was a long overdue step by Congress to reassert that authority.
The Congress must now act to protect that constitutional responsibility by overriding the president’s veto.
I respect that some of you voted against the resolution and that some of you support our intervention in that war. If you feel that way bring that perspective to the floor of the Senate, debate the issue and call for a vote.
At the end of the day, however, let us agree that it is imperative that Congress reaffirm the power given to us by the Constitution over matters of war, one of the most serious duties we have as members of Congress.
I ask for your support in this effort.