Rep. Collin Peterson under pressure for siding with GOP on Yemen vote

He was one of five Democrats who cast a decisive vote.
Publish date:

Minnesota congressman Collin Peterson is taking criticism from Democrats after siding with Republicans to prevent a vote ending U.S. support for Saudi Arabia in the war in Yemen.

Peterson, who was re-elected to the Minnesota 7th District last month, was one of five Democrats who voted with the majority of GOP representatives in favor of a resolution that prevents any kind of vote being taken on Yemen in the House before the end of 2018.

What's more, his fellow Minnesota Reps. Tim Walz and Keith Ellison – soon to be Minnesota's governor and attorney general, respectively – were among seven Democrats who were absent for the vote.

The Yemen measure was buried in a procedural bill setting out the rules for debating and passing the $867 billion Farm Bill, with House Speaker Paul Ryan adding it Tuesday night ahead of a Wednesday vote, prompting outcry from both sides of the aisle.

The procedural bill passed 206-203 on Wednesday, with 18 Republicans voting against it because of the Yemeni provision. This made Peterson's vote and the Ellison/Walz absences crucial.

Peterson in particular has gained attention for his vote after telling Washington Post reporter Jeff Stein that he "doesn't know a damn thing" about the war in Yemen, which has sparked a humanitarian crisis and claimed tens of thousands of lives – many of them children – and put 14 million people at risk of starvation.

Peterson suggested he voted in favor so as not to jeopardize the passage of the wider Farm Bill, despite Stein noting that had the procedural Farm Bill vote been rejected, the Yemen provision could have been removed and then another vote been held.

Peterson, however, criticized his Democratic Party because it "gets off on tangents."

The $867 billion Farm Bill was passed later on Wednesday by a vote of 367-49.

Newsweek reports the U.S. Senate is preparing to approve its own resolution that uses the War Powers Act to force the withdrawal of U.S. troops in or near Yemen within 30 days, unless they're fighting Al Qaeda.

The House will now be prevented from passing a similar measure at least until next month, when the Democrats take control.

Many in Congress have been looking to reduce the government's support of Saudi Arabia in the wake of the murder of U.S.-based journalist Jamal Khashoggi at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul in October, which has been linked to Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

Ryan's move was heavily criticized, with Kentucky Rep. Thomas Massie accusing him of "shirking responsibility."

But a Ryan spokesperson told the Washington Examiner the reason he inserted the measure preventing a vote on Yemen into a Farm Bill is because he argues the "U.S. is no longer providing the very support that this bill seeks to cut off, thus making it unnecessary."

BMTN has reached out to the offices of Reps. Walz and Ellison to ask for an explanation for their absences.

Next Up

Governor Tim Walz

Watch live: Gov. Tim Walz COVID-19 press conference Monday

Walz will be introducing a new app that helps Minnesotans track COVID-19 exposures.

Screen Shot 2020-11-23 at 9.54.21 AM

Newly elected representative vows to flout Minnesota COVID-19 rules

He wrote to Gov. Tim Walz, inviting him to a backyard gathering ahead of Thanksgiving.

coronavirus, covid-19

Minnesota Hospital Association: We are out of time to be 'Minnesota Nice'

The group is launching an ad campaign that holds nothing back about the seriousness of the situation in Minnesota hospitals.

MSU-Mankato hockey, Minnesota State, Mavericks

1 game into season and MSU Mankato is halted by COVID-19

The Mavericks played Bemidji State on Sunday.

Screen Shot 2020-11-23 at 8.57.50 AM

Cowboys TD featured horrible non-tackle by Vikings cornerback

Number 26 wanted nothing to do with making that tackle.

Screen Shot 2020-11-23 at 8.35.40 AM

New app will help Minnesotans find out about COVID-19 exposures

Personal information is not obtained by Google, Apple or the State of Minnesota.

Arianna Rooney

Missing: 16-year-old girl from White Bear Township

Anyone who sees her is asked to call 911.


Michelle Fischbach to challenge Rep. Collin Peterson in CD-7

The former lieutenant governor is looking to unseat the Democrat.

Rep. Collin Peterson likely to vote against impeachment as it's 'too divisive'

The 7th District representative has apparently not been moved by the public hearings.

Democrat Collin Peterson: Give Trump the wall money

He thinks the president should get what he wants to end the shutdown.

Collin Peterson to seek 15th term in Congress

Peterson represents one of the most conservative House districts represented by a Democrat.

Collin Peterson one of two Dems to urge overturning of Roe vs. Wade

Peterson was one of two Democrats to sign onto the amicus brief.

Rep. Angie Craig

Rep. Angie Craig to voters: I will vote 'yes' on impeachment

Fellow DFLer Rep. Collin Peterson will be voting "no."