How Congress is ending endless wars by reaching across the aisle
The United States is inching closer to an end to involvement in the war in Afghanistan.
Last week, Army General Austin “Scott” Miller stepped down as top U.S. general in Afghanistan, a symbolic finale to the nearly 20-year conflict.
U.S. operations in Afghanistan may be wrapping up, but American troops are still deployed all over the world, particularly in the Middle East. They are continually put in harm’s way in efforts that don’t protect vital interests here at home.
Thankfully, we are seeing a bipartisan movement in Congress to prioritize a better approach to foreign policy, one that keeps our troops safe from unnecessary harm while keeping America safe.
Here’s a look at what members of Congress are doing to end our nation’s endless wars and take back their war power responsibility.
Promising legislation to end endless wars
Lawmakers in both the House and Senate are introducing and cosponsoring bills that would reform our foreign policy, specifically by repealing outdated Authorizations for Use of Military Force and requiring Congress to take back its oversight responsibilities.
- This week, Democratic Sen. Chris Murphy, along with cosponsors Republican Sen. Mike Lee and Independent Sen. Bernie Sanders, introduced the National Security Powers Act of 2021. This sweeping reform would rebalance war powers by limiting what a president can do militarily without congressional input, requiring future AUMFs to include clearly defined objectives, and allowing Congress greater authority to cut off funding for unauthorized military action.
- Democratic Sen. Tim Kaine and Republican Sen. Todd Young have introduced a resolution that would repeal both the 1991 and 2002 AUMFs, which authorized actions in the Gulf War and Iraq War. Not only was this resolution introduced by a bipartisan set of senators, but it has nearly 20 cosponsors on both sides of the aisle.
- On the House side, Democratic Rep. Barbara Lee has introduced multiple bills to repeal the 2001 and 2002 AUMFs, efforts she’s been working on for years. The bills are gaining traction in both parties. Democratic Rep. Abigail Spanberger and Republican Rep. Peter Meijer have also introduced bills to repeal the 1991 and 1957 AUMFs, respectively. The 1957 AUMF was passed during the Eisenhower administration to protect the Middle East from “international communism” and has yet to be repealed.
Growing support for the movement
These legislative efforts are gaining support across the political spectrum, creating coalitions of unlikely allies who are working toward a common goal of a more responsible foreign policy.
Recently, CVA launched an ad series to thank members on both sides of the aisle for their principled stance on repealing outdated AUMFs.
It’s not often you see members so ideologically different on the same side of an argument, but they have all come together to keep troops out of unnecessary danger.
Speaking out and sharing ideas
As legislation is introduced and more members are getting on board with rebalancing war powers, CVA has hosted a series of town halls to keep that momentum going.
We’ve recently had conversations on foreign policy with a wide range of members, including:
- Sen. Rand Paul, who discussed the importance of Congress voting on military action.
- Rep. Warren Davidson, who talked about the need for clear, achievable military goals.
- Rep. Nancy Mace, who highlighted the role of Congress in war powers.
- Reps. Ro Khanna and Peter Meijer, who joined a roundtable discussion on the future of military engagement in the Middle East and beyond.
Lawmakers aren’t the only ones sharing their ideas about ending our endless wars and reforming foreign policy.
This year, CVA activists have sent more than 1,013,000 letters to Washington calling for full withdrawal from Afghanistan. Those letters are having a massive impact, letting lawmakers know that the American public is done with endless war, and that those who are driving change in foreign policy have the support of the people.
We’re seeing great things happening in Congress and around the country right now to get our foreign policy on a better path. But we haven’t yet crossed the finish line.
Congress needs to keep hearing from you, especially those of you who have served in the military and know first-hand the cost of war. We need to protect our fellow servicemembers from unnecessary danger and call for a better approach to military engagement.
Encourage your lawmakers to continue the full withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan.