Last Updated on September 28, 2023.
Washington – Win Without War Government Relations Director Eric Eikenberry released the following statement at the conclusion of the House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing, “Reclaiming Congress’s Article I Powers: Counterterrorism AUMF Reform”:
“Today’s House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing on addressing outdated authorizations for the use of military force (AUMFs) underscored the steep challenges facing the bipartisan coalition fighting to rein in endless wars. These wars have come at unconscionable expense to people in countries abroad, U.S. servicemembers, and the U.S. public.
“Congress’s constitutional role in determining when and whether the United States goes to war is not consultative – it’s decisive. Following this hearing, we urge members to reinforce their war powers by quickly passing legislation to repeal the 2002, 1991, and 1957 AUMFs, as the White House supports and for which there is clear, bipartisan backing in the House. That there remain divisions on how to address the 2001 AUMF is no excuse for inaction where clear consensus does exist.
“For years it has been clear that divisions within Congress and with the Executive exist on what and where war powers are necessary moving forward. To help move this debate forward, we urge endorsement of legislation led by Rep. Barbara Lee to sunset the 2001 AUMF and create the conditions for resolving a path forward.
“Today’s hearing was helpful in highlighting the contours of these divides. Executive branch witnesses, and even a few Representatives, attempted to muddy the waters around a needed assertion of Congress’s Article I powers. On the one hand, leading war powers advocates on the committee pushed back against an executive branch not yet willing to give up its blank check for war. We appreciate the Biden administration’s unambiguous statements in favor of repealing the 2002 AUMF and opposing authorizations for conflict with Iran-backed militias. But statements from State and DoD officials dismissing common-sense checks on executive overreach – including opposing sunset clauses in new AUMFs to prevent multi-decade conflicts in favor of ‘notifications’ and a ‘partnership’ – underscored just how empowered the executive branch feels to step over congressional authority.
“On the other hand, some leading Republicans pressed to not only continue, but even expand, our endless wars, pushing authorizations for military missions with no clear endgame and little to no public support. It is also unclear the extent to which any of their proposed military adversaries pose a genuine threat to the United States. And in no cases did the proponents of these missions raise or justify their significant human or financial cost.
“Congress must reject ‘reform’ that maintains or worsens the status quo. The era of endless war is over. It is long past time for our government to catch up with the people of the United States on this fact.”
Win Without War is a diverse network of activists and national organizations working for progressive foreign policy in the United States.September 28, 2023