1. Update
  2. U.S. Wars & Militarism

One Small Step for the House, One Giant Leap for Peace

By Emmet Hollingshead, May 22, 2019


On May 21, the House Appropriations Committee passed an amendment to the annual defense spending bill that would sunset the 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF) after 240 days. This is the most significant vote yet in favor of repealing the legislation that started the United States’ so-called “forever wars.”

Quakers and friends with Rep. Barbara Lee, author of the amendment to repeal the 2001 AUMF.

Quakers and friends with Rep. Barbara Lee, author of the amendment to repeal the 2001 AUMF.

Rep. Barbara Lee (CA-13), the only member of Congress to vote against the 2001 AUMF when it was passed after the 9/11 attacks, introduced the amendment, which passed through Committee on a party-line vote of 30-22. The bill will now be considered by the full House. The need to repeal this overbroad authorization is more urgent than ever, particularly in light of the administration’s recent escalation of tensions with Iran and signs that they may use the 2001 AUMF to justify yet another war.

Fortunately, as FCNL’s Legislative Director for Militarism and Human Rights Heather Brandon-Smith wrote in a recent article, “the current composition of Congress provides a genuine prospect that the amendment will pass… on the House floor.”

On Wednesday morning, Rep. Lee gathered with several members of Congress and peace advocates for a press conference in front of the U.S. Capitol to call for repeal of the 2001 AUMF and an end to the rising tensions with Iran. Reps. Schakowsky (IL-9), Ruppersberger (MD-2), McNerney (CA-9), and Massie (KY-4), along with FCNL’s Executive Secretary Diane Randall and Win Without War’s Advocacy Director Erica Fein, spoke movingly of the need for bipartisan congressional action to repeal the 2001 AUMF, which has upended our constitutional system of checks and balances and unnecessarily sent troops into harm’s way.

“This effort isn’t only about ensuring that war is not waged without permission,” said Randall. “It’s about ensuring that war is not waged at all.”

The journey to a world free of war and the threat of war is long and difficult. But today, we are one step closer.

Statement Diane Randall: Today we renew our commitment to fully repeal the 2001 AUMF and bring an end to endless wars. 

The 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF) has kept the United States and much of the world in a perpetual state of war for nearly 18 years. On May 22, members of Congress and advocates participated in a press conference to call on Congress to repeal the 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF), prevent war with Iran, and reassert Congress's constitutional authority on matters of war and peace.

Press Release AUMF Repeal A Step Forward for Peace 

Washington, DC – Today, the House Appropriations Committee voted for an amendment from Representative Barbara Lee (CA) to repeal the 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF). Designed to take effect after eight months, the Congress would need to pass a new AUMF or the Administration would need to remove American military personnel from current wars during that timeframe.

Legislative Ask No More Blank Check for War 

Congress Must Decide When the U.S. Goes to War

Since 9/11, three U.S. presidents have used the 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF) and the 2002 Iraq AUMF to justify U.S. military action across the globe without congressional approval. According to public records, the 2001 AUMF has been used to justify 41 military operations in 19 countries.

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. Our international stance should not be based on military might, but on compassionate and inclusive leadership focused on mutual interests. To that end, Emmet worked with members of Congress and their staff, fellow peace activists, and grassroots supporters to develop better ways for the U.S. to engage with the world.