Schneider Statement on Motion to Recommit
Today, Congressman Brad Schneider (D-IL) issued the below statement following his vote against the motion to recommit on S.J.Res. 7, a War Powers Resolution on Yemen, Directing Removal of U.S. Forces That Have Not Been Authorized by Congress.
“While I agree with the sentiments expressed in the motion to recommit (MTR), I strenuously object to the Republicans’ cynical ploy of weaponizing support for Israel for partisan political gain. Support for the U.S.-Israel relationship must remain bipartisan.
“Let me be clear: I strongly and actively oppose the Global BDS Movement (BDS) because it denies the Jewish people’s aspiration for a homeland and pushes the cause of peace further out of reach. That is why last month I introduced a bipartisan resolution in support of a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and condemning the BDS. This is the substantive action that can pass both the House and the Senate, and if my colleagues sincerely want to make progress on this issue, I welcome their support.
“But today’s MTR was not about these issues. Instead, it was a transparent effort to derail an important resolution striving to end the war in Yemen – the single greatest humanitarian crisis facing the world today. As was demonstrated when the House previously voted on this matter, accepting this unrelated motion would procedurally kill the Yemen resolution, stall Congress’s efforts to bring an end to the horrific Saudi-led war, and prolong an already unparalleled humanitarian disaster, leading to more unnecessary death and suffering.
“It was not easy for me to vote against a measure condemning BDS, but at this time, in these circumstances we have an immediate responsibility to help the people of Yemen.
“I hope now President Trump will sign the joint resolution. Meanwhile, I will continue working with my colleagues, Republican and Democrat, to further our bipartisan efforts to defend Israel and pursue stability, security and peace in the region.”
Yemen Joint Resolution
The ongoing war in Yemen has created an overwhelming humanitarian crisis. In February, the United Nations declared Yemen is the worst humanitarian crisis in the world. During this four-year civil war, experts estimate that 56,000 Yemenis have been killed by airstrikes and many more from malnutrition and disease. Currently, famine is threatening hundreds of thousands of lives. According to the International Committee of the Red Cross, 24 million men, women and children in Yemen – more than 80 percent of the country’s population – are in need of aid. With just under 30 million people, Yemen is the 48th most populous country in the world, 7th most among Arab countries
Today’s resolution, S.J.Res. 7 directs the President to remove United States Armed Forces from hostilities in or affecting the Republic of Yemen … by not later than the date that is 30 days after the date of the enactment of the joint resolution.” The resolution defines hostilities to include “in-flight refueling of non-United States aircraft conducting missions as part of the ongoing civil war in Yemen.”
Republican Motion to Recommit Will Kill Resolution
On March 13, the Senate passed S.J.Res. 7 by a bipartisan vote of 54 to 46, with seven Republicans voting for the joint resolution. (2019 Senate Vote #48). Passage of the S.J.Res. 7 by the House today sends the joint resolution to the President’s desk. Previously in February, the House had passed a virtually identical War Powers Resolution on Yemen (H.J.Res. 37) by a bipartisan vote of 248 to 177, with 18 Republicans voting for the joint resolution. (2019 House Vote #83).
Passage of the MTR would strip the joint resolution of privileged status and require a 60 vote threshold to pass in the Senate. Majority Leader McConnell would also be under no obligation to bring SJRes7 back up for a vote, effectively killing the resolution.
According to the House Committee on Rules, the motion to recommit provides one final opportunity for the House to debate and amend a measure, typically after the engrossment and third reading of the bill, before the Speaker orders the vote on final passage. The motion is the prerogative of the Minority party and in many cases constitutes the Minority’s one opportunity to obtain a vote on an alternative or a proposal to improve the measure.
Schneider Resolution in Support of Two-State Solution and Opposition to Global BDS Movement
In March, Schneider introduced H. Res 246, a bipartisan resolution opposing efforts to delegitimize the State of Israel and the Global Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions Movement targeting Israel.
The bipartisan resolution currently has more than 150 co-sponsors. It is supported by the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), and NORPAC. Schneider and the co-sponsors are working to secure a vote on the floor of the House on the resolution in the coming weeks.