US attacks in Yemen: Lawmakers say Biden cannot attack Houthis without permission

A bipartisan group of US lawmakers expressed concern over a series of recent US military attacks against Yemen Houthisurging President Joe Biden’s administration to obtain congressional authorization before taking further military action in the Middle East.

Yemen is recognized as the poorest nation in the Arab world, also facing an internal war that began in 2014, when Houthi rebels entered the capital, Sana’a.

In a letter addressed to Biden this Friday, a coalition of almost 30 members of the House of Representatives expressed their strong opposition to what they described as “unauthorized” US attacks that have further escalated the largest confrontation at sea the US Navy has seen in the Middle East in a decade.

“As representatives of the American people, the Congress must hold a robust debate before that the American military is in danger and before more American taxpayer dollars are spent on another Middle East war” says the letter, led by Rep. Ro Khanna, D-Calif., and Rep. Warren Davidson, R-Ohio. “No president, regardless of political party, has the constitutional authority to bypass Congress on matters of war.”

The lawmakers, who come from the far right and far left of their respective parties, represent a small but growing faction in Congress that is skeptical of the growing participation of country in the Middle East in recent months.

The White House, for its part, has defended the multiple rounds of airstrikes it has carried out in alliance with the United Kingdom since early January against Yemen, in response to what has been a persistent campaign of drone and missile attacks. Houthis against commercial ships since the start of the war between Israel and Hamas in October.

The Houthis They have explained that they would attack ships heading towards Israel as a protest against the devastation in the Gaza Strip.

Since the beginning of the year, Biden has written several times to Congress stating that the attacks comply with the War Powers Act of 1973. That law, passed during the Vietnam War, authorizes the presidency to declare war without the consent of Congress. It requires presidents to notify Congress within 48 hours of military action and limits the use of military forces to no more than 60 days unless Congress authorizes force or declares war.

But lawmakers have said that Decades-old statute does not give president “general authority” to undertake military actions.

Biden has stated that the United States will continue attacks against the Houthis, although they have so far failed to deter the group from continuing to harass commercial and military vessels in the region.