July 24, 2019
Washington, D.C. – Speaker Nancy Pelosi joined House Democrats for a bill enrollment photo opportunity for S. J. Resolutions 36, 37 and 38, a series of joint resolutions reasserting Congressional oversight over the President’s use of military force and expressing Congressional disapproval of arms sales to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. Below are the Speaker’s remarks:
Speaker Pelosi. We salute our Chairman Eliot Engel on this critical legislation. Thank you so much for your leadership and for the leadership of our colleagues that are here, and the leadership of our colleagues that couldn’t be here, Ro Khanna for one, who worked so hard to pass this legislation.
This is legislation where Democrats and Republicans have really come together, to establish Congress’s long-established tradition of having oversight over the activities of the President related to our national security. That includes reaffirming that the President cannot use a false emergency to spend money outside of the regular order, and of course, it’s very important to us to limit the U.S. involvement of what is happening in Yemen.
And this passed the Senate in a bipartisan way. This passed the Senate in a bipartisan way. And now we are going to enroll the legislation so it can go quickly to the President’s desk for signature. So I want to acknowledge the leadership of our Chairman Eliot Engel, the Chairman of the Rules Committee, who has been so active on these issues for such a long time, Chairman Jim McGovern, Gerry Connolly, a senior – that is to say – Member of long-standing on the Foreign Affairs Committee. Gerry, thank you for your leadership. Ted Lieu, Congressman Ted Lieu, who has been very active outspoken on this issue, recognized as a national leader in that regard.
I also want to acknowledge Ro Khanna who couldn’t be with us right now but worked very hard. A Member of the Armed Services Committee who is very, again, a force in getting this legislation on the Floor and passed in a bipartisan way. And with that I will sign this legislation so we can get it over to the President.
I’m going to sign this so you can each have your own pen in all of this.
Mr. Eliot Engel, do you want to say anything?
Chairman Engel. Well I’m really, very proud of the Congress for acting swiftly. The humanitarian crisis in Yemen is not something that we can just sit back and watch and not do anything about it. The President has declared a so-called emergency to get some smart bombs released, and I absolutely reject that, and think that is the absolutely wrong move to make.
First of all, we see no emergency, and second of all, it’s very important that the Congress, is the one that is a co-equal branch of government that makes these decisions, not just the executive branch, that we’ve had so much in the last several year.
So I want to thank the Speaker.
Speaker Pelosi. Thank you so much, Mr. Chairman. Mr. McGovern?
Chairman McGovern. Well thank you, I’m happy to be here. The President might not believe in human rights but we do! And selling arms to a government like Saudi Arabia, that murders and dismembers a Washington Post Journalist, that launches this despicable, cruel war in Yemen, to me, is something that a country that adheres to a high standard of human rights should never, ever do.
So we are making it clear to the President that we do not want any want any more arms to be going to Saudi Arabia. We want accountability, we want justice and we want our country, the greatest country in the world, to actually stand up for human rights.
Speaker Pelosi. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman. Mr. Connolly, Chairman also.
Chairman Connolly. Thank you, Speaker Pelosi. I want to echo what was just said. Jamal Khashoggi was my constituent. He lived in Tyson’s Corner in Fairfax, Virginia. He was a columnist for the Washington Post, the local newspaper. And he was guilty of going into the Turkey consulate – the Saudi Consulate in Turkey, seeking papers to get re-married, while his fiancé was waiting outside. And the price he paid for moderate criticism of the regime was that he was brutally murdered and dismembered on that property.
It is not okay to do business as usual with a regime that would tolerate that kind of behavior. People must be brought to account and to justice. Mr. Khashoggi’s memory demands no less, and American honor demands no less.
Speaker Pelosi. Thank you very much, Mr. Connolly. Mr. Lieu.
Congressman Lieu. Thank you. None of us here object to helping our allies – Saudi Arabia still remains an ally to the United States. But what we do object to is when Saudi Arabia murders a U.S. resident, cuts them up into pieces and then lies about it to the American people and the Congress. We object to Saudi Arabia leading a military coalition that has committed war crimes in Yemen, killing civilians indiscriminately, and we object to Donald Trump bypassing Congress by declaring a fake emergency so we don’t have oversight over these arms sales.
That’s why this legislation is bipartisan and it’s going to the President’s desk.
Speaker Pelosi. Thank you very much, my colleagues, for your leadership and for your very, really sad words about the assassination, really, of Khashoggi, but this – that would be reason enough, but the fact is Congress has oversight responsibilities over the use of our funds and our powers, to protect the American people.
The President should be not using force without Congress’s say and the humanitarian disaster really challenges the conscience of the world. I thank the Congress in a bipartisan way for responding and am pleased to give the pens for the enrollment to my colleagues, with the appreciation for their leadership, a coupon for the Speaker’s office and some others.
Thank you all very much. Thank you for your leadership.
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Author: Pelosi Press