This Week in Congress Update

S.J.Res. 54, which ends U.S. involvement in Yemen’s civil war, passed by a vote of 56-41.

Here are the 8 Republicans who voted for the resolution:

Susan Collins (ME)

Steve Daines (MT)

Jeff Flake (AZ)

Mike Lee (UT)

Jim Moran (KS)

Rand Paul (KY)

Todd Young (IN)

Before passing the resolution, the Senate defeated an amendment by Arkansas Senator Tom Cotton that allowed the U.S. military to intervene in Yemen to stop the Houthi from attacking targets outside Yemen.

That amendment was defeated 45-54. You can see the vote here.

Concerns have been raised that the resolution has an “Al Qaeda” loophole that allows continued U.S. military involvement in Yemen to fight Al Qaeda. This means all a president has to do is claim any intervention is somehow related to Al Qaeda. While this is a legitimate concern, the bill still represents a step forward in restoring a constitutional foreign policy. The way to address concerns about the Al Qaeda loophole is to get Congress to ensure it is not used to justify perpetual intervention in Yemen.

The “IMPROVE” Act, which is essentially yet another expansion of Medicaid, passed the House 400-11. Here are the eleven representatives who voted no:

Justin Amash (MI-03)

Andy Biggs(AZ-05)

Mo Brooks (AL-05)

Matt Gaetz (FL-01)

Tom Garrett (VA-5)

Paul Gosar (AZ-05)

Andy Harris (MD-01)

Jody Hice (GA-10)

Raul Labrador (ID-01)

Thomas Massie (KY-04)

Francis Rooney (FL-19)

Now a look at other suspension bills Congress considered this week:  

  1. 2736—Directs  the government to develop a comprehensive strategy for relationships with countries in the Indo-Pacific region. For example, the bill directs the president to “… establish a comprehensive, integrated, multiyear strategy to encourage the efforts of Indo-Pacific countries to implement national power strategies and cooperation with United States energy companies and the Department of Energy national laboratories to develop an appropriate mix of power solutions to provide access to sufficient, reliable, and affordable power in order to reduce poverty, drive economic growth and job creation, and to increase energy security in the Indo-Pacific region.” The bill authorizes spending $5 million dollars over five years.

It also directs the State Department to deploy personnel to promote democracy and human rights in the Indo-Pacific region and improve the access to freedom of information in North Korea. It authorizes $100 million dollars-to promote democracy and human rights.


The bill singles out China for democracy promotion and instituting a government to preserve Tibet’s cultural heritage as well as promote economic development and environmental conversation in Tibet.

This bill passed the Senate by unanimous consent and the House by voice vote.


H.R. 3008—Requires the Department of Interior to study making President George W. Bush’s childhood home a national monument and part of the national park service.

H.R. 6665-Amends the Outer Continental Shelf Act to include United States territories. This puts the submerged land 3 miles offshore under the U.S. Government’s jurisdiction and gives the Interior Department control over the use of the land—including whether or not to lease the land for oil drilling and other purposes. It also authorizes federal funds to prevent erosion of coral reefs.

  1. 245—Directs the Secretary of  Interior to assist Indian tribes in planning their energy resource development programs.
  2. 2511—Creates a process for the U.S. Government to acquire more “unmanned” maritime systems.

H.R. 6140—This bill directs the Department of Energy to develop and deploy high-assay low-enriched uranium for domestic commercial use and to develop a schedule for recovering costs associated with such development.

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