In a political maneuver that was equal parts bizarre and grimly predictable, Republican leaders on Capitol Hill moved yet again on Wednesday to block a vote to wind down U.S. military support for the war in Yemen, this time by tucking a parliamentary procedure into a rule governing legislation that removes gray wolves from the endangered species list.
The measure narrowly passed with a 201-187 vote, preventing any action on the war in Yemen this legislative session.
What’s more, several of the co-sponsors of the Yemen resolution to end the war either voted to advance the wolf bill or abstained from the vote entirely, meaning that they played a part in preventing their own bill from reaching the House floor.
Adding to the confusion, two of the six House Democrats who joined Republicans in beating back the Yemen bill have told The Intercept that they cast their votes in error.
“Mr. Vela’s vote was actually mistake – we are in the process of changing it,” wrote Mickeala Carter, a spokesperson for Rep. Filemon Vela, D-Texas, who voted for the rule that prevented the Yemen vote.
Rep. Anna Eshoo, D-Calif., is a co-sponsor of the Yemen legislation, which invokes the 1973 War Powers Act to compel the Trump administration to remove U.S. forces from “hostilities” related to the Saudi Arabia-led intervention. Eshoo voted for the measure blocking her own resolution from reaching the floor, a move that puzzled human rights advocates.
“She is a cosponsor of the Resolution and made a mistake on the vote,” wrote Emma Crisci, a spokesperson for Eshoo’s office, in an email to The Intercept. “The Congresswoman is submitting a statement for the Congressional Record saying that she made a mistake in voting and meant to vote NO on the rule.”
Four other House Democrats — Reps. Gene Green and Vicente González of Texas, Collin Peterson of Minnesota, and Jim Costa of California — also voted for the rule to prevent the Yemen bill from reaching the floor, and did not respond to a request for comment.
Rep. Ken Buck, R-Colo., signed on as a co-sponsor of the legislation to wind down the war in Yemen in October. Buck was selected by GOP leadership this cycle to serve on the House Rules Committee,