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Thursday, June 29, 2017

'Whoa!' 16 years later, Barbara Lee's famous stand against 'endless war' moves forward

After the House Appropriations Committee approved 
Rep. Barbara Lee's AUMF repeal amendment, 
she tweeted, "Whoa."
13TH CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT
Rep. Barbara Lee's lone stand against the authorization of war in the Middle East in 2001 is legendary in the East Bay and across the progressive movement for its courage and later foresight.

Sixteen years later, Lee's amendment is gaining support. On Thursday, the Republican-led House Appropriations Committee voted to include a repeal of the Authorization for the Use of Military Force (AUMF) in the U.S. Department of Defense spending bill.

Approval of the amendment ensures a House floor vote and a reopening of the debate for giving the President unfettered power to send U.S. military into global conflicts and war. Lee was the only member of Congress to oppose giving the authorization to President George W. Bush just after the events of 9/11 and the eventual lead up to war in Afghanistan and later Iraq.

If approved by the House, the AUMF will sunset 240 days later, Lee said Thursday.

"This is about our country. This is about our brave service members. This is about Congress and our constitutional responsibility to do our jobs and authorize war," said Lee.

"Given the nature of the threats our country faces, it's past time for Republicans and Democrats to come together to support my amendment to repeal the 2001 AUMF. I voted against the 2001 AUMF because I knew it would provide a blank check to wage war anywhere, anytime, for any length by any president.

Lee had offered up the amendment on numerous occasions over the years without any success. She appeared genuinely surprised by Thursday's breakthrough. After news of the vote broke, she tweeted, "Whoa!"

That House Republicans sided with one of the most progressive members of Congress on this issue may suggest unease with leaving the increasingly erratic President Donald Trump with too much power to make war.

“You’re making converts all over the place, Ms. Lee," Appropriations Chairman Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-N.J.) told Lee, according to Politico. "And indeed, you have been incredibly persistent and perseverant on this issue for a number of years. I think we recognize you, and obviously you have allies in the room. We share your concern.”

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