2021 Quincy Award for Responsible Statecraft: A Conversation with Representatives Jim McGovern & Peter Meijer about Congress’ Role in War and Peace

Senators Christopher Murphy, Mike Lee and Bernie Sanders, and Representatives Jim McGovern and Peter Meijer have been selected as the joint recipients of the 2021 Quincy Award for Responsible Statecraft.   The award recognizes the role of this bipartisan group in championing legislation that strengthens the constitutional role of Congress in exerting control over executive war powers. The National Security Reforms and Accountability Act in the House, and the National Security Powers Act in the Senate would require affirmative congressional approval for any future military interventions or declarations of national emergency, and for most arms sales. This bipartisan legislation would greatly strengthen the ability of the American people through their representatives in Congress to exercise a meaningful check on executive branch decisions about war and peace.  The award is named for John Quincy Adams, the nation’s sixth president, who 200 years and 83 American-involved wars ago warned that America ought not go “abroad in search of monsters to destroy.” The Quincy Institute established this award in 2020 to honor the individual(s) 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. 


Rep. Jim McGovern

Jim McGovern has represented the 2nd Congressional District of Massachusetts in the U.S. House of Representatives since 1997. In January 2019 he became chairman of the powerful House Rules Committee. He is also a senior member of the House Committee on Agriculture, serves as the Co-Chair of the Congressional-Executive Commission on China and is the Democratic Co-Chair of the bipartisan Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission – both of which monitor, investigate and advocate on behalf of international human rights, the rule of law and good governance. As a congressional aide, McGovern helped lead the investigation of the murders of six Jesuit priests by the U.S.-backed Salvadoran military, which led to the placement of human rights-based conditions on further aid to the Salvadoran government. He was born and raised in Worcester, Massachusetts, and received his B.A. in history from American University in Washington, DC.

Rep. Peter Meijer

Congressman Peter Meijer was elected in 2020 to represent Michigan’s 3rd Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives. He serves on the Committee on Homeland Security as Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Oversight, Management and Accountability. He also serves on the House Foreign Affairs Committee and the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology. Upon graduating from East Grand Rapids High School, Meijer enlisted in the Army Reserves. He was deployed to Iraq as a non-commissioned officer. After returning from Iraq in 2011 and finishing his undergraduate studies at Columbia University, Peter joined Team Rubicon, a veteran-based disaster response organization. With Team Rubicon, Peter led humanitarian efforts in South Sudan dealing with a refugee crisis. He also led operations in New York after Superstorm Sandy and Oklahoma after a series of devastating tornadoes. He was born and raised in Grand Rapids, Michigan, where he currently resides with his wife Gabriella.