In the fervor and whiplash created by the 24-hour-news cycle, important policy decisions often go unnoticed by a distracted population. This week, obscured by the left’s elation of retaking Congress, there was a morally reprehensible move by the lame-duck House Republicans to block a vote renouncing U.S. support of the Saudi war in Yemen.

With tens of thousands killed and millions on the edge of what the UN Human Rights Council has called “mass deaths of starvation,” 13 million Yemenis will be subject to devastating famine if the international community fails to provide aid to the region. While the Saudi coalition in Yemen utilizes U.S. intelligence, arms and training to fight a drawn-out proxy war with Iran, millions of innocent civilians are in harm’s way, with only a trickle of humanitarian aid allowed to enter the country.

Abdicating their constitutional powers to act, congressional Republicans have neglected the American ideals of human rights and protection in favor of shielding an unaccountable ally in Riyadh from responsibility. It is telling what the outgoing Congress doesn’t want brought to the floor of the House. Covering the eyes of serious oversight, the current Congress has removed any debate on American involvement in what is clearly an abhorrent conflict, allowing our nation’s military actions to remain unchecked.

However, there is hope. With fresh, progressive, and human rights-focused foreign policy, this Congress can break from the ambivalent acceptance of American weapons and expertise being wielded by those who scoff at the basic foundations of human rights.

By exposing our complicity to scrutiny, this new Congress has the moral authority to redirect American foreign policy and fight for a new, humane American presence worldwide.

Bryan Lanning Hoechner, Salt Lake City