FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 8th, 2014
Contact: Katherine Jolly (510) 763-0370
Washington, DC – Today, Congresswoman Barbara Lee introduced the bipartisan War Authorization Review and Determination Act (WARD Act, H.R. 4608), to reinsert Congressional oversight and determination into any future use of military force, as well as repeal the 2001 Authorization for the Use of Military Force (AUMF). As the House prepares to take up the FY15 National Defense Authorization Act, Congresswoman Lee introduced this legislation to end the executive branch’s “blank check” for military action.
Since her lone vote against the AUMF in 2001, Congresswoman Lee has consistently called for the repeal of this legislation, which has been used as legal justification for a wide range of activities, including targeted drone killings, warrantless surveillance and wiretapping, and the ongoing war in Afghanistan. Congressman Paul Broun (R-GA), a member of the Homeland Security Committee, joined Congresswoman Lee in introducing the WARD Act and advocating for stronger congressional oversight in authorizing military force.
“As the only Member of Congress to vote against the AUMF on September 14th, 2001, I have been deeply concerned about this overly-broad blank check for endless war,” said Congresswoman Lee. “I knew then, as I know now, that it gives any president the nearly unlimited authority to wage limitless war at anytime, anywhere, for any reason, in perpetuity. Regardless of how you perceive the AUMF, the fact remains that it is overly broad in scope and runs contrary to Congress’s constitutional role in war making and oversight.”
“The AUMF has been the underlying legal justification for countless acts of federal overreach and abuse, including: targeted drone killings of American citizens, broad warrantless surveillance and wiretapping activities, and indefinite detention. This attack upon our Constitutional liberties must stop – and I was pleased to work across the aisle to put forward a bill which would curb these instances of gross federal overreach,” said Congressman Broun. “While the AUMF originally passed in 2001 to allow the government to pursue Al Qaeda – it has expanded far beyond its originally intended scope. The WARD Act works to address this dramatic growth of power by restoring transparency and the Congressional oversight role. I urge my colleagues to work immediately to pass this common-sense, bipartisan bill.”
According to a CRS report from July 2013, there are 30 known instances where the AUMF has been invoked by Presidents Bush and Obama for the purposes of deploying troops in Ethiopia, Djibouti, Georgia, and Yemen, justifying detentions at Guantanamo Bay, and conducting military commissions.
Original sponsors of the WARD Act include Representatives Louis Slaughter (D-NY), Ranking Member of the House Committee on Rules, Alcee L. Hastings (D-FL), a member of the House Rules Committee, John Garamendi (D-CA), a member of the Committee on Armed Services, Ted Yoho (R-FL), a member of the Committee on Foreign Affairs, Thomas Massie (R-KY), a member of the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, and Steve Stockman (R-TX), a member of the Committee on Foreign Affairs, John Conyers (D-MI), Ranking Member of the House Judiciary Committee, Walter Jones (R-NC), a member of the Committee on Armed Services, Justin Amash (R-MI), a member of the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, Bill Posey (R-FL), a member of the Financial Services Committee, and Keith Ellison (D-MN), a member of the Financial Services Committee.
Congresswoman Lee is a member of the Appropriations and Budget Committees, the Steering and Policy Committee, is a Senior Democratic Whip, as well as the Whip of the Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC), where she serves as the Co-Chair of the CPC Peace and Security Task Force.