Congresswoman Lee Says End of Pentagon Program to Train Syrian Rebels “Should Be A Wake-Up Call for Congress”

Washington, DC – Congresswoman Barbara Lee released the following statement upon the announcement that the Pentagon will abandon a $500 million program to train and equip Syrian rebels:

“I applaud the Obama Administration’s decision to end the Pentagon’s program to train and equip Syrian rebels. More than a year after Congress authorized this program, only a handful of rebels have been trained.

The failure of this program should be a wake-up call for Congress: instead of blindly wading further into another war in the Middle East without a debate or comprehensive strategy, we must live up to our constitutional responsibility to hold a full debate on the costs and consequences of military action.

It is past time for the United States to stop engaging in military action without a coherent strategy or a full debate in Congress. Before the authorization of this program, I stated that ‘instead of rushing into another war, flooding the region with more weapons, and intervening further in a civil war, Congress should be pressing the pause button.’

In order to fully degrade and dismantle ISIL, we must have a robust and comprehensive strategy that is regionally-led and incorporates the political, economic and diplomatic approaches critical to mission success. My legislation, H.J. Res. 30, provides a framework for such a strategy while repealing the 2001 blank check for endless war.”


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.