As the White House has started an open-ended and unauthorized war in Yemen, some members of Congress are pushing for legislation that would provide funding to replace the munitions dropped on the Middle East’s poorest nation.
Politico reports, “As American warships burn through expensive missiles against Houthi targets in the Red Sea and Yemen, lawmakers, lobbyists, and the Navy are angling to use a multibillion-dollar national security supplemental to replenish the military’s inventory of munitions.”
In November, the Houthis announced that Yemeni forces would target Israeli-linked shipping in the Red Sea until Tel Aviv ends its military campaign in Gaza. Two weeks ago, President Joe Biden, without consulting Congress, authorized strikes on the Houthis.
In response, the Houthis began targeting American-linked shipping transiting the region. The White House is ordering attacks on Yemen nearly every day. However, the White House claims it is not at war with Yemen, and it does not need Congressional authorization for the operations.
Biden’s war in Yemen could drag on for some time. US officials told the Washington Post the administration has “no end date” and “little exit strategy” for its military operations in Yemen. President Biden has admitted that the strikes are not deterring the Houthi attacks.
Additionally, the US operations against Yemen are expensive. Washington has combated drone and missile attacks from Yemen on ships in the Red Sea by using expensive interceptors to down the inexpensive Houthi munitions. The White House has largely relied on ship-fired Tomahawks to hit targets in Yemen. Some lawmakers worry the operations against the Houthis will impact Wasington’s ability to dominate the globe.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) said fighting in Yemen means Congress needs to add further spending for munitions to a supplemental military funding package. “As I’ve warned for weeks, using million-dollar missiles to defend against thousand-dollar drones strains an already insufficient inventory of long-range capabilities,” he added. “The supplemental is our chance to expand our capacity to meet the national security challenges we face.”
Sen. Mark Kelly (D-AZ) argued that additional missiles are needed to confront China. “We’re looking — one of the parts of the supplemental is to make sure we have the rounds we need, whether it’s [the Long Range Anti-Ship Missile] or possibly things like [the] Tomahawk that we have for the Western Pacific.” He continues, “And that is a capability we would need if we ever got in a conflict with China.”
Sen. Dan Sullivan (R-AK) said “a big plus up” in munitions funding is imperative for Tomahawks, Naval Strike Missiles, and Harpoons. He also explained that the weapons are needed for global dominance. “And those kinds of weapons systems are critical everywhere, Taiwan in particular,” the Senator said.
Politico notes that Pentagon officials and lobbyists for arms makers are also pushing for increased funding for munitions production in a supplemental defense spending bill.
Mon, 01/22/2024 – 21:00