Press Release

Rep. Barbara Lee to Receive the First Quincy Award for Responsible Statecraft

November 30, 2020

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

CONTACT: Jessica Rosenblum, Quincy Institute, 202.279.0005/ [email protected]

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Representative Barbara Lee will receive the inaugural Quincy Award for Responsible Statecraft for her advancement of ideas and actions that move US foreign policy away from endless war and toward vigorous diplomacy in the pursuit of international peace. 

“We recognize Rep. Lee for her wisdom and moral courage in standing alone when Congress  voted shortly after 9/11 to authorize the use of open-ended military force against an ill-defined target, and her tireless efforts since to repeal that blank check authorization,” said Quincy Institute President Andrew Bacevich, who will present the award to Rep. Lee at a public (virtual) event on December 4.

The award is named for John Quincy Adams, the nation’s sixth president, who also served as a member of Congress, and as one of the United States’ most accomplished diplomats. 

In selecting Representative Lee for the award, the Quincy Institute is reminded of then Representative Adam’s singular protest in 1837 of the “gag rule,” which prevented abolitionist members from reading citizen petitions opposing slavery on the floor of the House of Representatives. Adams fought the gag rule for years, finally prevailing in 1844. Along the way, he called on members of Congress to “Always vote for principle, though you may vote alone.”

Like Adams, Lee stood alone in 2001 — on the floor of the House of Representatives — exemplifying political courage with her vote against the authorization for use of military force against terrorists “and associated forces” implicated in the attacks of 9/11.  In defending her lone vote, Rep. Lee said, “I could not support such a grant of war-making authority to the president; I believe it would put more innocent lives at risk.”  “As we act,” she said, “ let us not become the evil that we deplore.”

Lee has since led repeated efforts in the Congress to repeal the war authorization, which has been taken by the Executive Branch as conferring the authority to use lethal force in at least 19 countries in the two decades since it was passed. In 2018 and 2019, the Lee-led efforts passed in the House of Representatives, only to be stripped out of the final bill in conference with the Senate.  

In honoring Representative Lee, the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft confirms its founding mission to promote ideas that move the United States away from policies of military domination and endless war and toward a much greater emphasis on cooperation and vigorous diplomacy.  The institute challenges the American public and policymakers to imagine a world where peace is the norm for the United States, and war is the exception.

The Quincy Institute will issue the award yearly on or around the anniversary of its December 2019 launch to a Member of Congress, a currently serving or retired member of the US Armed Services, a member of the Diplomatic Corps, an elected official or an ordinary citizen who exemplifies political courage in furtherance of peaceful US engagement with the world. 

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