1. Update
  2. Middle East & Iran, Nuclear Weapons, U.S. Wars & Militarism

How Did Your Rep Vote on Endless War?

By Jim Cason, June 15, 2016

War is not working. We know this much as we watch the carnage in Syria, the collapse of Afghanistan, the ongoing consequences of the U.S. invasion of Iraq and the spread of violent extremist attacks.

Yet the House of Representatives voted this week to approve a nearly $600 billion Pentagon budget. Our FCNL community opposes this war budget as a matter of faith. We also believe the expanding war budget is bad public policy.

The good news is that a members of Congress are asking some hard question about some particularly elements of this war-first foreign policy.. Last week, thanks in part to your efforts, the Senate rejected an amendment to add another $18 billion to the Pentagon's budget.

Votes on endless war, cluster bombs, nuclear weapons

In mid-June, every representative had an opportunity to cast votes on whether to continue the war in Syria, cut off U.S. cluster bomb shipments to Saudi Arabia and slow the development of a new nuclear capable cruise missile.

Take a look at how the votes resulted.

  • Require Congress to vote on war. Shortly after 9/11, Congress passed a sweeping Authorization for the Use of Military Force (AUMF) that has been used by two presidents as a blank check to authorize war. An amendment proposed by Representatives Barbara Lee (CA), Walter Jones (NC) and Peter Welch (VT) to repeal the 2001 AUMF won 146 votes, but failed because 274 members voted against this amendment.
  • Require Congress to vote on war - part 2. Representatives Jim McGovern (MA), Walter Jones (NC), Justin Amash (MI) and John Garamendi (CA) proposed an amendment that would prohibit further U.S. combat operations in Iraq or Syria until Congress has authorized such operations. We oppose all war. We also support this amendments that, if enacted, would require Congress to exercise its constitutional authority to vote on all U.S. wars.This amendment failed by 135 to 235.
  • Cut funding for nuclear capable cruise missile. Representative Mike Quigley (IL), Adam Smith (WA), Earl Blumenauer (OR), John Garamendi (CA) and Jared Polis (CO) offered an amendment to cut $75 million in funding for a new nuclear cruise missile that could spark a new cold war. The amendment failed by a vote of 159 to 261.
  • Stop cluster bomb shipments to Saudi Arabia. Human rights groups have documented the Saudi use of U.S. cluster bombs in their expanding Yemen war. The U.S. government has quietly put a hold of shipments of cluster bombs to Saudi Arabia. FCNL supported Representatives John Conyers (MI), Keith Ellison (MN), Raul Grijalva (AZ), Hank Johnson (GA), Jim McGovern (MA) and Barbara Lee (CA) amendment to block the transfer of cluster bombs to Saudi Arabia. This amendment failed by a vote of 204 to 216.
  • Stop U.S. weapons to Syrian combatants. FCNL supported and amendment by Representatives Tulsi Gabbard (HI) and Peter Welch (VT) that would cut off funding to the Pentagon for sending weapons to armed combatants in Syria, which is fueling the Syrian civil war. While the Syrian Train and Equip program has been justified on the premise that the program is designed to undermine ISIS, in fact, these weapons sent to Syrian armed combatants have often ended up in the hands of ISIS and other extremist groups, and have only contributed to the violence in Syria. This amendment would de-escalate the violence in Syria, that is crucial to advancing a political solution to end the war.This amendment failed by 135 votes to 283.

What direction for U.S. foreign policy?

These votes by themselves will not change the direction of U.S. foreign policy. But they do provide an opportunity to start a discussion with members of Congress about whether the U.S. approach to the world is based on domination and control or cooperation and international engagement.

I hope you'll check out how your representative voted and then let them know what you think.

Jim Cason

  • Associate General Secretary for Strategic Advocacy

Jim Cason is responsible for directing the full range of FCNL’s strategic advocacy work. In this capacity, he works with program staff to develop long term change strategies that accomplish our particular legislative goals.