March 12, 2021

ICYMI: Reps. Lee, Meeks, McGovern, Schiff, and Brown Hold Virtual Press Conference Calling for an End to Forever Wars

Washington, D.C. – Today, Representatives Barbara Lee (D-CA), Chair of the Appropriations Subcommittee on State and Foreign Operations, Gregory Meeks, Chair of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Adam Schiff, Chair of the House Intelligence Committee, Jim McGovern, Chair of the House Rules Committee, and Anthony Brown, a 30-year Army veteran who served in Iraq, hosted a press conference on the need to end forever wars. This event came one week before the 18th anniversary of the start of the ground war in Iraq on March 19th

In January, the lawmakers sent a letter to President Biden, on his first day in office, requesting that he address the two Authorizations for Use of Military Force (AUMF) passed in 2001 and 2002. President Biden recently stated his support for war powers reform. The lawmakers are now calling for Congressional action to put war powers back in the hands of Congress, as the Constitution intended.

“We are here today to call for action to end our forever wars and repeal the outdated and overly broad AUMF’s that Congress passed nearly 20 years ago prior to the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq,” said Congresswoman Lee. “Next week marks the 18th anniversary of the invasion of Iraq. Since my lone vote against the 2001 AUMF, 20 years later, the United States is still engaged in dozens of countries with thousands of troops still deployed in the field, with the AUMF as its justification. We’re fighting this year to ensure we repeal these two authorizations.”

“This September will mark the 20th year America has been at war, the longest war in American history,” said Chairman Meeks. “In that time, Congress has never gone back to reevaluate the authorization for use of military force that was enacted in the days after 9/11, or the authorization passed a year later, for a separate war against the Saddam Hussain regime in Iraq. These two authorities, the 2001 AUMF and the 2002 Iraq War AUMF, have been stretched far beyond anything Congress ever intended. As Chair of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, I intend to markup legislation in the Foreign Affairs Committee in the coming weeks to repeal the 2002 AUMF, and am committed to working towards an updated authority for the 2001 AUMF that is limited to reflect the threats we face today, providing a focused mission and objectives, while ensuring it will not be misused in the future.”

“For nearly two decades, America has engaged in a complex and shifting conflict against a variety of terrorist groups around the world, which has been legally justified under the 2001 AUMF passed in the days immediately following September 11th,” said Chairman Adam Schiff. “Over the years, I’ve proposed numerous efforts to reclaim Congress’s war powers, and I believe the bipartisan moment has arrived to work with my Congressional colleagues and the Administration to end the forever wars.”

“It’s been nearly two decades since Congress last voted to authorize the use of military force. We are calling for action today because it is beyond time to get these decades-old authorizations off the books,” said Chairman McGovern. “Enough is enough. America shouldn’t be putting matters of war and peace on autopilot. This is about respecting those who serve our country in uniform and making sure that the most important decisions that can be made – decisions of war and peace – are made deliberatively and in consultation with Congress.”

“For too long, Congress has abdicated its Constitutional responsibilities. We’ve allowed wars to drag on and combat operations to expand with minimal Congressional action. I was deployed to Iraq in 2004, the justification for this war was fundamentally flawed, yet we were given a clear mission. I have no doubt that this mission has been long over,” said Congressman Anthony Brown. “We must seize this moment to reassert Congress’ responsibility in the use of our armed forces. We must repeal the 2002 AUMF and prevent its future misuse. We must ensure that we have a framework for addressing threats to our nation. And we must fulfill our obligation to our servicemen and women to only use military force only as a last resort.”

Click here to watch the full press conference.