WASHINGTON,D.C. (March 17, 2015) — Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC) Co-Chairs Reps. Raúl M. Grijalva (D-AZ) and Keith Ellison (D-MN), along with CPC Peace and Security Taskforce Chair Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA) held a forum today on ISIL and President Obama’s proposed Authorization for the Use of Military Force (AUMF). The Congressional Progressive Caucus heard from policy experts who discussed the need for a comprehensive solution to the conflict in Syria and Iraq. The hearing can be seen here.
“Congress has the responsibility to hold this president – and every president – accountable when sending troops into harm’s way. President Obama’s proposal to fight ISIL fails to meet minimal expectations for political, economic and diplomatic solutions that will be vital to ending hostilities,” Rep. Grijalva said. “The fact that an outdated and overreaching AUMF from 2001 has been relied on more than 30 times since it went into effect only emphasizes the need for specificity to prevent ongoing conflicts and mission creep in United States’ military engagements. Congress must demand real answers from this administration before committing to any military action going forward.”
“Before the United States enters a conflict, the elected representatives of the American people must debate and vote on a specific and narrow AUMF,” Rep. Ellison said. “We have to make it clear that the 2001 and 20002 AUMFs do not authorize the executive to wage perpetual war. We have learned the painful lesson that prolonged American military engagement in Iraq will not stop terrorism. Defeating the so-called Islamic State requires a comprehensive solution led by Middle East regional powers; open-ended AUMFs do not solve the problem.”
“Our nation has been involved in a half year war that has no end in sight. Despite calls from Members of Congress and the American people, there has been no debate on this vital national security issue,” Rep. Barbara Lee said. “As we advance strategies to ultimately degrade and dismantle ISIL, we must ensure that these strategies are effective, comprehensive and do not continue our policy of blank checks for endless war. It’s past time for Congress to re-establish its vital role in matters of war and peace.”