10.29.15

“Congratulations Mr. Speaker, Now Let’s Restore Congress’s Role in Matters of War and Peace”

Washington, D.C. – As Speaker Paul Ryan assumes the gavel, Congresswoman Lee released this statement calling for the overdue debate on U.S. military action in Iraq and Syria and the repeal of the blank checks for endless war:

“I congratulate Paul Ryan on his election as Speaker of the House today.

As he begins his tenure, Speaker Ryan has an important opportunity and duty to restore Congress’s constitutional role to debate matters of war and peace.

Over the last 14 years, the authorization for the use of military force (AUMF), passed just days after the horrific attacks on September 11th, 2001, has been used more than 30 times to justify military actions, drone strikes, warrantless wiretaps and indefinite detentions at Guantanamo Bay.

It is past time to repeal this blank check for endless war and re-establish Congress’s long abdicated responsibility to debate and authorize military action. The American people deserve a voice on whether or not our nation goes to war.

Earlier this year, President Obama sent Congress a draft AUMF for Iraq and Syria. Since then, it has remained on the Speaker’s desk.

After more than a decade of war in the Middle East, it is clear that there is no military solution. Only a comprehensive, regionally-led strategy that addresses the underlying economic, humanitarian, political and diplomatic challenges will ultimately degrade and dismantle ISIL.

In February, I introduced legislation, H. J. Res. 30, which lays out the comprehensive framework necessary to eliminate ISIL and repeals the blank checks for endless war. It’s past time for Congress to have a serious debate about our strategy in the region.”

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Congresswoman Lee is a member of the Appropriations and Budget Committees, the Steering and Policy Committee, is a Senior Democratic Whip, former chair of the Congressional Black Caucus and co-chair of the Progressive Caucus. She serves as chair of the Whip’s Task Force on Poverty and Opportunity.