Shaheen Statement on Trump Administration’s Failure to Meet Yemen Certification Deadline

February 15, 2019

(Washington, DC) – U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), a member of the Senate Foreign Relations and Armed Services Committees, issued the following statement in response to the Trump administration’s failure to meet the February 9, 2019 Yemen certification deadline to Congress. Shaheen sent a bipartisan letter with Senator Todd Young (R-IN) last week ahead of the deadline to Secretary of State Pompeo, calling for a certification that better reflects the facts on the ground in Yemen than the administration’s previous certification in September. 

Senators Shaheen and Young worked successfully to include Section 1290 in the John S. McCain National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2019 (P.L. 115-232), which requires the Secretary of State to submit written, detailed, and unclassified certifications related to the efforts of the governments of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates in Yemen. Secretary of State Pompeo issued the first certification on September 10, 2018. The statute requires two more certifications from the Secretary of State in 2019 – February 9, 2019 and August 8, 2019.   

“The humanitarian crisis in Yemen is dire, which is why Senator Young and I were very clear when we wrote the law demanding accountability for the Saudi-led coalition’s actions: certify to Congress that efforts are being taken to end the war, alleviate the crisis and protect civilians. The administration’s refusal to verify that the coalition is in compliance with those objectives subverts our nation’s commitment to those goals and brazenly violates this law,” said Shaheen. “The President doesn’t get to sidestep congressional oversight when it’s politically convenient – we are coequal branches of government. I urge the administration to immediately submit a certification to Congress or seek a national security waiver, as required. The foot-dragging and shallow excuses must end.” 

Following the first certification to Congress in September, Shaheen and Young wrote to Secretary Pompeo, voicing concerns that the certification did not reflect the facts on the ground.