Articles & Op-Eds

Betsy DeVos won't say whether she'd withhold federal funds from private schools that discriminate

May 24, 2017

by Emma Brown

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos refused to say Wednesday whether she would block private schools that discriminate against LGBT students from receiving federal dollars, explaining that she believes states should have the flexibility to design voucher programs and that parents should be able to choose schools that best fit their children's needs. DeVos returned frequently to the theme of what she called a need for more local control in her first appearance before Congress since her rocky confirm… Continue Reading

OMB Director Mulvaney Gets Earful From Lawmakers For ‘Immoral’ Trump Budget

May 24, 2017

by Andrew Rafferty

Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney received a tongue lashing from Democrats, along with one Republican, when he visited Capitol Hill on Wednesday to defend a White House budget opponents called "a betrayal" to the American people. "Never before, really, have I seen such a cruel and morally bankrupt budget," Rep. Barbara Lee, D-Cali., told Mulvaney during his appearance before the House Budget Committee. Democrats cited cuts to food stamps, the Department of Education, and s… Continue Reading

Dem rep fires back at Trump: Civil War happened because my ancestors were enslaved

May 01, 2017

by John Bowden

Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.) is firing back at President Trump after he asked in an interview, "Why was there the Civil War?" "President Trump doesn't understand the Civil War," Lee tweeted on Monday. "It's because my ancestors and millions of others were enslaved." The California Democrat was responding to remarks Trump made in an interview with the Washington Examiner's Salena Zito broadcast Monday on SiriusXM. Trump suggested former President Andrew Jackson would have "worked out" the causes… Continue Reading

Rep. Barbara Lee: Congress must address the famine crisis

April 21, 2017

The famine in South Sudan and the approaching famines in Somalia, Nigeria and Yemen constitute the worst humanitarian crisis since the end of World War II ["Famine looms in Africa," editorial, April 16]. Millions could starve if Congress fails to act. Thankfully, members of both parties agree we must do something. I recently circulated a bipartisan letter urging Congress to provide $1 billion in emergency funding to address these famines. When Congress reconvenes at the end of the month, securi… Continue Reading

Rep. Barbara Lee: Trump does not have the authority to go to war in Syria

April 10, 2017

Just days after the Sept. 11 attacks, Congress voted to give President George W. Bush legal authority to take military action against the perpetrators of the terror attacks and associated forces. As the lone vote against this authorization, I believed that it would be used as a blank check for endless war. Sadly, in the past 15 years, we have seen this blank check used over and over by now three presidents. The 2001 Authorization for the Use of Military Force, as it is known, has become a catch… Continue Reading

Only Member Of Congress To Vote Against War On Terror Says She’d Do It Again

April 09, 2017

by Laura Barron-Lopez

Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.) received death threats after she cast her vote against launching the "war on terror." She was the only member of Congress to do it. But 16 years later, the California Democrat would do it again. The airstrikes launched by President Donald Trump on Syria this week only further convince her that her vote was the right one. Lee was the only dissenting vote on the 2001 bill that gave President George W. Bush the Authorization for the Use of Military Force, also known as… Continue Reading

Dem seeks to block US troops going to Syria after Marines deployed

March 10, 2017

by Rebecca Kheel

A Democratic lawmaker is introducing a bill to block additional U.S. forces from being sent into Syria after an amphibious task force of Marines landed in Syria for the first time. "The bill I am introducing today prohibits the Department of Defense from funding any attempt by the administration to expand our presence in Syria by putting U.S. combat boots on the ground," Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.) said in a statement to The Hill. "It is our constitutional duty as members of Congress to place … Continue Reading

Lawmakers to Trump: End unchecked war powers

February 21, 2017

by Austin Wright

Twelve House Democrats and one Republican are calling on President Donald Trump to formally declare war against the Islamic State and submit a resolution to Congress that limits his war powers - a request that is not likely to be heeded. The letter, led by Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.) and obtained by POLITICO, comes as the Pentagon is considering options for ramping up its nearly three-year campaign against ISIL and follows a request by the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan for thousands more tr… Continue Reading

Rep. Barbara Lee: How to Move Toward an AIDS-Free Generation

February 20, 2017

To the Editor: Re "Why Trump Should Keep Pepfar," by Bill Frist (Op-Ed, Feb. 9): Bill Frist is exactly right: The President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, or Pepfar, has been one of the most successful public health and peace initiatives in our country's history. This lifesaving program is an important example of what our government can accomplish when we set aside partisan disagreements and focus on saving lives. In the early 2000s, I was honored to lead the bipartisan effort, with the ba… Continue Reading

Rep. Barbara Lee: The Hyde Amendment Is 'Blatant Discrimination Against Poor Women'

January 31, 2017

In my time as an elected representative in California and here in Congress, I am proud to have fought side-by-side with constituents, advocates, and my colleagues to end racial and gender discrimination, stand up for our human rights, and work to build a future in which all our families can thrive. I have also seen, time and again, politicians who not only ignore the daily struggles and realities of our lives, but also attempt to interfere in our most personal decisions. President Donald Trump … Continue Reading

Rep. Barbara Lee: We Must Keep Fighting For Reforms to End Gun Violence

January 30, 2017

One year ago today, I held a gun violence town hall in West Oakland, featuring young activists from the East Bay. At that town hall, I had the honor of meeting 19-year-old Roderick "Travon" Godfrey, an Oakland native, painfully impacted by the violence in his community. Travon captured the hearts of all those who attended. He gave an emotional speech, at times fighting back tears, describing the toll of gun violence in his life. In 2015 alone, Travon lost eight friends to gun violence. He cal… Continue Reading

On Day One, Trump Opponent Goes Underground

January 21, 2017

by Alex Seitz-Wald

What do you do on Trump's inauguration day if you're one of the most liberal members of Congress? You can't burn things in the streets with the anarchists or day-drink like many despondent Democratic staffers. If you're California Rep. Barbara Lee, who represents Berkeley and distinguished herself early in the last great era of liberal opposition by being the only member of Congress to vote against George W. Bush's post-9/11 military authorization, you hang out with Michael Moore and prepare to… Continue Reading

Barbara Lee: Why my seat at the inauguration is empty

January 20, 2017

Rep. Barbara Lee: A Vote For Jeff Sessions Is A Vote Against Freedom And Equality

January 14, 2017

Donald J. Trump ran one of the most divisive and bigoted campaigns in modern history. In the days following his election, many hoped that the president-elect would turn toward unity. Instead, he has shown that he will govern just as he campaigned: by normalizing racism, discrimination and intolerance. There is no greater example of this disturbing reality than Senator Jeff Sessions' nomination to serve as our nation's Attorney General. Maya Angelou once said, "When people show you who they are… Continue Reading

America: We are better than this

November 16, 2016

Just a week into his new job, Donald Trump has already installed a white nationalist just steps from the Oval Office. Instead of working to heal the wounds of a deeply divided nation - a nation in which the majority of voters rejected him - President-elect Trump has doubled down on his dangerous flirtation with the alt-right by naming Steve Bannon as his White House chief strategist. This is simply unacceptable. For more than 200 years, the story of our nation has been about expanding rights,… Continue Reading

Congresswoman Barbara Lee on President Trump: 'The Fight is Coming'

November 15, 2016

November 8 was a sobering and defining moment for the East Bay and our nation. Like you, I was disheartened by the election results, and fearful that the progress we've made over the past eight years would be undone. Yet, we must preserve our faith in our democracy and respect our Constitution. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., our drum major for peace and justice, said, "Faith is taking the first step even when you can't see the whole staircase." As the home of the peace and social-justice moveme… Continue Reading

Students need great advocate on Capitol Hill

October 06, 2016

I am a proud Golden Bear. Every day in Congress, I carry with me the lessons that I learned on campus from my professors and my fellow students. Like many others, I would not be where I am today - serving you in Congress - without my time at UC Berkeley. While a college degree does not guarantee success in today's economy, it's the single best bet for getting ahead. As a nation, we must ensure that every student, regardless of their background, has the opportunity to access a high quality, aff… Continue Reading

End Hyde Now

September 28, 2016

Read the original at U.S. News & World Report When I first started my career in the House of Representatives, I worked as a staffer for the great Rep. Ron Dellums, a Democrat representing California's 9th District. Forty years ago, nearly to the day, I was in his office when the Hyde Amendment was attached to the federal budget for the first time. It was a different time. I was one of only a handful of women, especially African-American women, working on Capitol Hill, and women's right… Continue Reading

Congress needs to put our money where our mouth is on STEM

September 27, 2016

In his recent op-ed for The Hill ("STEM education: Not just for the next Neil Armstrong," Sept. 20), Congressman Randy Hultgren (R-Ill.) lays out the importance of inspiring our nation's next generation of scientists, engineers and astronauts early on. I could not agree more. We need to inspire and challenge our nation's young people to innovate the future. We know that the tech sector is creating the jobs of today and tomorrow, yet too many American students do not have the necessary skills… Continue Reading

Small Victories Won – Now, Let’s Win This War

July 19, 2016

Since the first AIDS Conference in 2000, held right here in Durban, our battle to eradicate HIV and AIDS across the world has won many victories. Since 2010, new HIV infections have fallen by 6% and nearly half of the people living with the virus have access to antiretroviral therapy treatments. But as we return to Durban for the 2016 AIDS Conference, we know that much work still remains to win this war. In 2015, UNAIDS released a stark report finding that without a drastic acceleration in eff… Continue Reading

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