MaryDiane Baker: Kudos to Sanders for co-sponsoring bill

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  • Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., speaks to reporters following his meeting with President Joe Biden at the White House in Washington, Monday, July 17, 2023. AP FILE PHOTO/SUSAN WALSH

Published: 9/20/2023 6:23:01 PM
Modified: 9/20/2023 6:22:21 PM

I write to loudly thank Sen. Bernie Sanders for his recent action as the latest co-sponsor of S.R. 109, the Murphy-Lee-Durbin 502B resolution. This bipartisan resolution demands transparency and accountability for the U.S. role in the Saudi war in Yemen.

Bernie’s constituents have urged his action on this issue for months, rallying across the state, circulating petitions, and raising the issue at his town hall meetings. His signing on to this bill is a decisive win for advocates in Vermont and beyond.

America sells more weapons around the world than any other country, and we send them to countries with glaring human rights abuses. Since March 2015, the U.S. has provided arms, ammunition and military targeting for Saudi Arabia’s attacks on civilians in Yemen. Solid evidence from our own State Department of gross Saudi human rights violations since the U.S. got involved means our country enables and perpetuates immoral practices for which we decry other countries.

There is a law against this. Section 502B of the Foreign Assistance Act, which came into being in 1974, is a flexible tool for legislators to examine and address human rights abuses in other countries. When invoked, it directs the State Department to provide a report within 30 days. Congress can then decide to either limit or totally block American military assistance to that country.

We celebrate Sanders’ role as a historic leader on ending U.S. participation in the Saudi war and blockade in Yemen. Co-signing S.R. 109, which invokes 502B, is a valuable step toward ending our facilitation of one of the greatest humanitarian tragedies on the planet.

MaryDiane Baker

Action Corps VT organizer volunteer, Brattleboro, Vermont


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