July 19, 2017

Congresswoman Barbara Lee Denounces Republican Leadership’s Decision to Strip AUMF Repeal Amendment

Washington, D.C. – Today, at a bipartisan press conference, Congresswoman Barbara Lee denounced Republican leadership’s decision to strip her bipartisan amendment to repeal the 2001 AUMF from in the FY18 ‘minibus’ spending bill. She was joined by Members of Congress and community organizations Vote Vets and Win Without War.

“Today was a really sad day for our democracy. Republican leadership’s unilateral decision to kill my bipartisan amendment, which would have finally put an end to our perpetual wars, is a shame and a disgrace.” said Congresswoman Barbara Lee. “Refusing to debate and vote on our ongoing wars is an abdication of our constitutional responsibility.  It’s time to stop kicking the can down the road. We need to step up, do our job, and finally have this debate.”

“We have troops in Iraq and Syria who were in diapers when the original AUMF was passed in 2001. Congress must do its Constitutional duty and have a new debate about the use of our troops in operations that could never have been foreseen in 2001.  Members of both parties support a new debate,” said Will Fischer, Director of Government Affairs for VoteVets. “It is unconscionable that Speaker Ryan has decided to block this bipartisan effort.  Our men and women who put their lives in the line for America deserve so much more.”

“It is shameful, but not surprising, that Speaker Ryan has rewritten the Defense Appropriations bill in secret to once again deny a long overdue debate and votes on America's endless wars. President Trump is getting ready to send thousands of Americans into combat in a war that Congress last voted on when some of those brave men and women were 2 years old. It is long past time that Congress did its most important constitutional duty to debate and vote on war. We applaud Congresswoman Lee - whose lone voice in 2001 warned us all of the dangers of this blank check for war - and her colleagues who continue to lead on this important issue,” said Stephen Miles, Director of Win Without War.

As the only Member of Congress to vote against the Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF) in 2001, Congresswoman Barbara has consistently urged Congress to repeal this legislation. Her amendment – which was adopted by the House Appropriations Committee with strong bipartisan support – would have repealed the 2001 AUMF within eight months of enactment, allowing Congress ample time to debate and vote on any replacement AUMF.

However, late last night, Congresswoman Lee’s amendment was stripped from the FY2018 Defense, Military Construction, Veterans Affairs, Legislative Branch and Energy and Water Development National Security Appropriations Act.

To watch the full press conference, please click here.