House Speaker Paul Ryan on Wednesday pushed language through the House that will prevent lawmakers from taking up any resolution to end U.S. support for the war in Yemen this year.
The language was passed just as the Senate was set to start debate on a resolution that aims to end U.S. involvement in Yemen, a response to anger over Saudi Arabia’s involvement in the death of dissident Jamal Khashoggi.
The provision was tucked into the rule for the 2018 farm bill, which governs how the farm bill will be debated and voted on. Rules are approved by the House Rules Committee, also known as the Speaker’s Committee because it’s stacked in favor of the majority and usually takes direction from the House speaker.
Rules for legislation normally pass easily on the strength of support from the majority party, but on Wednesday, 18 Republicans balked because of the inclusion of the Yemen language. It passed narrowly in a 206-203 vote, and 17 Republican lawmakers didn’t vote at all, both signs that the language nearly put the farm bill at risk of not advancing.
The rule said a section of the War Powers Resolution won’t apply for the rest of the current Congress to any resolution related to Yemen. That effectively prevents the House from taking up the Senate resolution, should it pass.
Republicans and Democrats in the House who favor a vote on the measure blasted Ryan’s move, which they said was underhanded.