December 04, 2020

Congresswoman Barbara Lee Receives First Quincy Award for Responsible Statecraft

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, Congresswoman Barbara Lee received the inaugural Quincy Award for Responsible State craft for her advancement of ideas and actions that move US foreign policy away from endless war and toward vigorous diplomacy in the pursuit of international peace. The award is named for John Quincy Adams, the nation’s sixth president, who also served as a member of Congress, and as one of the United States’ most accomplished diplomats.  

In selecting Representative Lee for the award, the Quincy Institute was reminded of then Representative Adam’s singular protest in 1837 of the “gag rule,” which prevented abolitionist members from reading citizen petitions opposing slavery on the floor of the House of Representatives. Adams fought the gag rule for years, finally prevailing in 1844. Along the way, he called on members of Congress to “Always vote for principle, though you may vote alone.”

“I would like to thank the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft for presenting me with this inaugural award,” said Congresswoman Barbara Lee. “This award means so much to me. Nearly 20 years ago, I voted against a blank check for endless wars. According to the Congressional Research Service, the 2001 AUMF has been used at least 41 times in 19 countries since then. We will continue working to sunset the 2001 AUMF and repeal the 2002 AUMF, stop these nonsensical, endless wars and better put our investments into the needs of the American people.”

“We recognize Rep. Lee for her wisdom and moral courage in standing alone when Congress voted shortly after 9/11 to authorize the use of open-ended military force against an ill-defined target, and her tireless efforts since to repeal that blank check authorization,” said Quincy Institute President Andrew Bacevich, who presented the award to Rep. Lee at a public (virtual) event on December 4. 

Like Adams, Lee stood alone in 2001 — on the floor of the House of Representatives — exemplifying political courage with her vote against the authorization for use of military force against terrorists “and associated forces” implicated in the attacks of 9/11.  In defending her lone vote, Rep. Lee said, “I could not support such a grant of war-making authority to the president; I believe it would put more innocent lives at risk.”  “As we act,” she said, “ let us not become the evil that we deplore.”  

Lee has since led repeated efforts in the Congress to repeal the war authorization, which has been taken by the Executive Branch as conferring the authority to use lethal force in at least 19 countries in the two decades since it was passed. In 2018 and 2019, the Lee-led efforts passed in the House of Representatives, only to be stripped out of the final bill in conference with the Senate. 

To watch a tribute video dedicated to Congresswoman Lee, click here