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On June 19, for the first time in nearly two decades of endless war, a full chamber of Congress voted to repeal the 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF), which has been used by three consecutive presidents to justify military engagements around the world with little congressional oversight.

The repeal of the 2001 AUMF was approved by the House Appropriations Committee in late May, as an amendment by Rep. Barbara Lee (CA-13) to the annual defense spending bill. That bill was then folded into a “minibus” of appropriations bills, H.R. 2740, which passed the House by a vote of 226 – 203.

“A world free of war and the threat of war” has been a basic principle of FCNL’s mission since our founding in 1943. For 76 years, we have promoted the advancement of peace in U.S. foreign policy and urged national leaders to avoid military options.

That work took on a new dimension following the attacks of September 11 and the U.S. response. While FCNL called for peace from the very beginning, our nation chose war. These wars have slowly but steadily expanded over the years to include counterterrorism operations in at least 19 countries. As a result, more than half a million people have died.

Through it all, FCNL has tirelessly advocated for peace. Our advocates, donors, and staff in Washington, D.C. have been persistent, prophetic, and powerful in this mission. This year, our Advocacy Teams added a huge extra push by urging their representatives to cosponsor H.R. 1274, Rep. Lee’s standalone bill to repeal the 2001 AUMF. The bill, which Rep. Lee has introduced several times over the years, currently has 74 cosponsors, more than ever before.

The House vote to repeal the 2001 AUMF marks the first time that a full chamber of Congress has moved to end our endless wars. Everyone who has been involved in this effort should be immensely proud of their work. As this legislation moves to the Senate, we should remember this victory as an example of the power of persistence.

Emmet Hollingshead

Emmet Hollingshead

Program Assistant, Militarism and Human Rights

Emmet served as FCNL’s Program Assistant for Militarism and Human Rights for 2018-2019. He lobbied for more peaceful, ethical, and holistic U.S. foreign policy.