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Al Lawson is working to help solve the student hunger problem. (Photo: A.G. Gancarski)

Federal

Al Lawson breaks with Dems, votes for continued U.S. war in Yemen

U.S. Rep. Al Lawson sent out a press release Thursday extolling the recently passed Farm Bill in Congress.

“The Farm Bill is a great example of common-sense bipartisanship that will improve the quality of life for millions of Americans,” said Rep. Lawson.

However, the bill, as Orlando Weekly reported Wednesday, included a provision to continue U.S. involvement in the continued war in Yemen. This proved controversial to most Democrats.

But it was a poison pill Lawson, a member of the House Agriculture Committee, could swallow, in light of what he called “Congress’ last chance before the end of the year to provide much-needed relief to families and farmers through the Farm Bill.”

The United States, along with Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, are yoked in battle with Iranian-backed forces: the latest theater in a four-decade cold war with Iran.

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The conflict has been a boon for contractors, yet brutal for Yemen. As New York Magazine noted, famine is at a historic level, with 85,000 deaths of children under the age of five.

We asked Lawson, one of just five Democrats and the only Florida Democrat to vote for this, why he did. His spokesperson referred us to a statement already released.

“It is unfortunate that my Republican colleagues played political games by attaching a measure as serious as the humanitarian crisis occurring in Yemen to the Farm Bill. The resolution, which uses the War Powers Act, is not the end of this critical conversation,” Lawson said.

“It is vital that we have a full discussion in the next Congress on the crisis and work toward a reasonable solution that I hope will bring an end to the atrocities taking place in Yemen,” Lawson added.

We reached out for further elaboration Thursday afternoon, with questions about how the action is in America’s national interest, as well as the justification for American involvement in Yemen, a role which seems to be as an adjunct to Saudi and the United Arab Emirates.

“The conflict unfolding in Yemen is incredibly disheartening and unjustifiable. The United States should do everything within our power to help stop the genocide and other atrocities taking place against innocent people in Yemen,” Lawson said.

“It is very clear that we need to examine our relationship with the Saudi government and determine the impact it has on the conflict taking place in Yemen. We must make it clear that any economic support that the Saudis offer the United States will never be enough to justify their actions in Yemen,” Lawson added.

“While it is necessary to guarantee that Yemen is controlled by an internationally recognized government that can operate diplomatically on a world stage, the United States must always consider how national security and economic interests impact our relationships with other countries,” the Congressman said.

“In Yemen, we have a situation where the Saudis are directly involved in airstrikes that have killed innocent people including children. Further, these military aggressions have also caused many to not only suffer from food insecurity but also to be separated from their families,” Lawson concluded.

Lawson has been praised by Republicans and derided by Democrats for his bipartisanship.

This summer, the Congressman retweeted President Donald Trump; the claim was that his account had been “hacked.”

The first RT saw Lawson’s account support Trump’s allegations of Democratic corruption, cooperation with Russia, and bashing of the “fake news media.”

The second RT saw Lawson’s account support Trump’s imposition of tariffs against traditional U.S. allies in Mexico, Canada, and the EU, a tweet that condemned “stupid trade.”

Previously, Lawson applauded President Trump at the State of the Union address.

Despite these apostasies from earlier this year, Lawson drubbed former Jacksonville Mayor Alvin Brown in the Democratic primary, despite his attempts to paint Lawson as “Trump’s favorite Democrat.”

Written By

A.G. Gancarski has been a working journalist for over two decades. Gancarski has been a correspondent for FloridaPolitics.com since 2014. In 2018, he was a finalist for an Association of Alternative Newsweeklies "best political column." He can be reached at a.g.gancarski@gmail.com.

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