Presenting the 2021 Quincy Award for Responsible Statecraft

On December 9, 2021, the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft presented its second annual Quincy Award for Responsible Statecraft to Senators Christopher Murphy, Mike Lee and Bernie Sanders, and Representatives Jim McGovern and Peter Meijer. The bipartisan group was chosen in recognition of their championing of legislation to strengthen the constitutional role of Congress in exerting control over executive war powers.

The legislation — the National Security Reforms and Accountability Act in the House, and the National Security Powers Act in the Senate — would implement a vital rebalancing of war powers between Congress and the executive, requiring affirmative congressional approval for any future military interventions, emergency declarations, and major arms sales. The bills further ensure that when an authorization to use lethal force is provided, it must have a clearly defined purpose, and regular review by Congress. 

As Quincy Institute CEO Lora Lumpe said at the time of the legislation’s introduction:

“If passed, this bipartisan legislation would not only repeal the excessively broad and much-abused AUMFs, but would also restore Congress’s essential role in determining where, when, and against whom the United States engages in warfare — and to whom it sells lethal arms. Congress owes it to the American people to reclaim these lost responsibilities, and should not miss this opportunity to do so.”

The award, like our organization, is named for John Quincy Adams, the nation’s sixth president and one of its most accomplished diplomats. We established this award in 2020 to honor the individuals or organization whose work has done the most in the preceding year to move U.S. policy away from endless war and toward vigorous and effective diplomacy. Our first award, in December 2020, went to Congresswoman Barbara Lee for her lone vote against an open-ended authorization for war against terrorism, and for her tireless efforts since to repeal that authorization. 

Before the award presentation, QI’s Kelley Beaucar Vlahos sat down with Reps. McGovern and Meijer to discuss their fight to reclaim Congress’s constitutional power over war making. You can watch their conversation below.

Read the award citation here.