REP LIEU ANNOUNCES PASSAGE OF KEY PROVISION IN 2019 NDAA THAT ENSURES CRITICAL OVERSIGHT OF YEMEN CRISIS
WASHINGTON – Today, Congressman Ted W. Lieu (D-Los Angeles County) announces the passage of a Yemen oversight provision, which he originally introduced as an amendment with Representative Ted Yoho, in the final 2019 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). Sec. 1290 requires the White House to certify to Congress that the Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates led military Coalition is making a good faith effort to avoid civilian casualties, support diplomatic efforts and take measures to alleviate the humanitarian crisis in Yemen.
Rep. Lieu has long called for increased oversight of operations in Yemen, and has repeatedly expressed concern over the Coalition’s limited efforts to avoid civilian causalties and mitigate the humanitarian crisis in Yemen. Since entering Congress, Rep. Lieu has been highly critical of the U.S.’s liability in supporting a Coalition that may be violating international law and the Law of War.
“I’m glad we’re going to be able to hold our Coalition partners accountable for any failures to protect civilians in Yemen. Because the U.S. is providing military and other support for the Coalition, we have a duty to ensure the Coalition is complying with international laws and the Law of War. For years I’ve been calling on U.S. officials to conduct more stringent oversight over Coalition operations, which have contributed to the still-worsening humanitarian crisis in Yemen. I am grateful that Ranking Member of the Armed Services Committee Adam Smith advocated for this provision and that the House and Senate are in agreement over its necessity.”
Congressman Lieu’s previous work on Yemen:
In July 2018, Rep. Lieu and Ted Yoho (R-FL) sent a letter to Senate and House Armed Services Committee leaders to express support for a National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) provision that would establish certification requirements for U.S. assistance to Gulf partners operating in Yemen.
In December 2017, President Donald J. Trump signed the 2018 NDAA, which included two provisions on Yemen that Rep. Lieu authored, into law. . Congressman Lieu authored provisions that will bring critical congressional oversight to the conflict in Yemen for the first time. Sec. 1265 requires the Departments of Defense and State to report to Congress on whether the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and its coalition partners are abiding by their commitments in Yemen. Sec. 1275 requires the President to submit a detailed report that contains a military and diplomatic strategy for Yemen.
In July 2017, the House of Representatives passed Congressman Lieu’s amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2018 that requires the Departments of Defense and State to report to Congress on whether the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and its coalition partners are abiding by their commitments in Yemen to avoid civilian casualties.
In May 2017, Congressmen Lieu and Ted Yoho (R-FL) called on House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce to review the proposed sale of precision-guided munitions to Saudi Arabia. Congressman Lieu also introduced legislation to place conditions on all air-to-ground munitions sales to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The three conditions relate to avoiding civilian casualties, facilitating humanitarian aid, and targeting U.S.-designated terrorist organizations such as AQAP and ISIS.
In April 2017, Congressman Lieu led a letter with a bipartisan group of 30 Members of Congress to Secretary of Defense Mattis and Secretary of State Tillerson requesting information related to the operational conduct of the Royal Saudi Air Force in Yemen.
In November 2016, Congressman Lieu led the Lantos Human Rights Commission in holding a hearing on the humanitarian crisis in Yemen. In August 2016, Congressman Lieu led a bipartisan group of 64 Members of Congress in sending a letter to President Barack Obama urging him to postpone the sale of new arms to Saudi Arabia. The letter raised concerns regarding the Saudi-led Coalition’s killing of civilians. Previously, Congressman Lieu had repeatedly raised similar concerns, sending letters to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and Secretaries John Kerry and Ash Carter. He also introduced legislation to establish new guidelines for weapons sales to Saudi Arabia.