DeFazio has long advocated for constraint on using our Armed Forces. He is a recognized expert on Congress' constitutional prerogative to declare war and has fought for fiscal responsibility and accountability at the Pentagon so that scare funds can be better spent on the basic needs of our troops, obligations to veterans of past wars, and other domestic priorities.
Defense Budget Watchdog
Since 1990, the Department of Defense has spent $11 trillion. Over the next six years, it is estimated to spend over $3 trillion more. Despite the fact that the Pentagon is the largest and most expensive department in the federal government, it has never passed a financial audit. DeFazio has been one of the most outspoken members of Congress on Pentagon waste and has sponsored amendments and legislation to require a full financial audit of the Defense Department.
Reforming Security Contracts
DeFazio has been a long-time critic of Pentagon weapons programs that are over-budget, behind schedule and irrelevant to fighting today's threats. He successfully fought to have the Army's over-budget, under-performing Comanche Helicopter program cancelled. DeFazio continues to serve as a watchdog over Pentagon spending to ensure federal resources are being used to support U.S. troops and their missions instead of serving the needs of weapons contractors.
DeFazio has been an outspoken critic of the war in Afghanistan. He adamantly opposed the Obama escalation of the war and has repeatedly voted in Congress to bring a responsible end to the open-ended conflict. DeFazio called on both the Bush and Obama Administrations to provide a clear exit strategy and to move towards a less expensive, less troop intensive policy that could bring about more successful and strategic results.
Washington Post: "An ideological war America must watch, not fight," 2/27/15 https://wapo.st/1JS9xCA
New York Times: "Freud and the Middle East," 11/11/14 https://tinyurl.com/nqqcxw3
New York Times: "U.S. Goal Is to Make Syrian Rebels Viable," 9/18/14 https://nyti.ms/1r5kULl
New York Times: "U.S. Faces Tough Struggle on Ground to Oust ISIS," 9/18/14 https://nyti.ms/1ts3drk
New York Times: "Shiite Militias Pose Challenge for U.S. in Iraq," 9/16/14 https://nyti.ms/1mcuPzQ
The Patriot News: "We don't need another dumb war: Rosa Brooks," 9/15/14https://www.pennlive.com/opinion/2014/09/we_dont_need_another_dumb_war.html
DeFazio has a long and consistent record opposing the war in Iraq. He voted against the original authorization for the war in October 2002 after rejecting the Bush Administration's bogus arguments about weapons of mass destruction and ties to al-Qaeda. DeFazio introduced legislation in February 2003 to repeal the congressional authorization of the Iraq war before it started.
War Powers Resolution
DeFazio is a recognized expert and a public watchdog on Congress' constitutional prerogative to declare war. The War Powers Resolution was passed by Congress after the Vietnam War to check the power of the President in committing U.S. forces in armed conflict. Only Congress has the constitutional authority to declare war and as a co-equal branch of the federal government, DeFazio has insisted that Congress fulfill its constitutional responsibilities and obligations. Unfortunately, over the last several decades Congress has outsourced its war powers to the executive branch, giving administrations unchecked authority to unilaterally commit U.S. forces to armed conflict. DeFazio has frequently introduced legislation, the War Powers Amendments Act, requiring the President to acquire Congressional authorization for any conflict lasting more than 60 days.
After years of negotiations, the U.S., Germany, France, United Kingdom, Russia, and China (otherwise known as the P5+1) have reached an agreement with Iran over their activities in pursuit of developing a nuclear weapon. This agreement, referred to as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), was announced in July 2015. Congress will have sixty days to review the agreement before voting on a resolution in September.
I believe the agreement that was reached represents significant progress and it is in the best interest of the United States, Israel, and our allies for Congress to support it. (To read DeFazio's statement of support for the JCPOA, click here. To read Rep. DeFazio's statement for the Congressional Record in support of the Iran Nuclear Agreement, click here.)
Arms Control Association, "An Effective, Verifiable Nuclear Deal with Iran," 7/23/2015
Vox, "This is an Astoundingly Good Iran Deal," 7/16/2015
The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is an emotional and complicated dispute. Both sides passionately believe the actions of the other are illegal under international law and consider the lands under dispute to be their ancestral home. The conflict is further complicated by religious, political, and economic differences. DeFazio believes the United States has humanitarian, economic, and security interests to ensure a lasting peace is reached between Israel and Palestine. DeFazio believes this can only be accomplished through a two-state solution, which will require a much more assertive role by the U.S. in bringing Israeli and Palestinian leaders to the negotiating table.
As a long-time member of the Human Rights Caucus, DeFazio is a vocal critic of the use of torture and supports the permanent closure of the prison in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. He believes Guantanamo contradicts American values, undermines U.S. diplomatic and military missions, strains our relationship with key allies, and puts Americans traveling or living abroad at risk.
DeFazio also firmly believes the U.S. government can protect the United States without trampling on the U.S. Constitution. DeFazio opposed the Military Commissions Act of 2006, which illegally established trial procedures for detainees held at Guantanamo and provided immunity to administration officials that authorized torture. DeFazio also voted against the USA PATRIOT Act, legislation that dramatically expanded executive powers to conduct intrusive surveillance, including on Americans, without safeguards or congressional oversight. DeFazio is working with his colleagues in the House of Representatives to ensure that while we fight terrorism at home and abroad, we do not unduly trample on the rights of law abiding citizens.
More on National Security
Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-OR) today expressed his support for the bipartisan privileged resolution to terminate President Trump’s declaration of a national emergency at the southern border.
“While there is no doubt that our immigration system is broken, the president’s proposed border wall will do very little for our national security and is an irresponsible waste of taxpayer funds,” said Rep. DeFazio. “The emergency declaration is nothing more than a power grab by the president, violating existing law and our constitutional system of separation of powers.”
WASHINGTON—In advance of one of the busiest travel holidays of the year, Ranking Member of the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure Peter DeFazio (D-OR) introduced legislation with Ranking Member of the Committee on Homeland Security Bennie Thompson (D-MS) and Ranking Member of the Subcommittee for Transportation and Protective Security Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-NJ) that would help ease congestion and long lines at TSA screening checkpoints at airports.
Leading a group of lawmakers including Barbara Lee (CA-13), James McGovern (MA-02), and Mark Pocan (WI-02), Rep. Peter DeFazio today sent a letter to President Trump urging him to brief Congress on the scope of his campaign in Syria and his exit strategy within 48 hours.
After reports of a chemical weapons attack by Bashar al-Assad on his own people in Syria, President Trump authorized a missile strike on Shayrat Air Base in Syria on Thursday evening.
WASHINGTON—Rep. Peter DeFazio today released the following statement on President Trump’s missile strikes in Syria:
“Bashar al-Assad is a brutal dictator whose inhumane chemical attacks against his own people are an unspeakable atrocity.
Rep. Peter DeFazio today released the following statement in response to President Trump’s updated Executive Order on immigration:
Following reports that President Trump is considering sending U.S. ground forces into Northern Syria, Congressman Peter DeFazio today introduced the War Powers Amendments of 2017, legislation that clarifies under the Constitution that President Trump must seek congressional authorization prior to sending U.S. troops into combat. The legislation would also require any future president to consult with Congress before sending forces into conflicts.
WASHINGTON—Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-OR) today released the following statement on President Trump's executive order on immigration:
This weekend, President Trump issued an ill-conceived and unlawful executive order that grossly missed its mark in an apparent attempt to strengthen our national security. Instead, it sends a message that Muslims are not welcome in America, alienates our allies and serves as a recruiting tool for ISIS and other terrorists groups, ultimately making America less secure.
Congressmen Peter DeFazio, Randy Forbes, Dan Lipinski and more than fifty lawmakers today urged Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew and the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) to investigate the pending joint venture with the North Carolina-based rail manufacturing company, Vertex Railcar Corporation, and two Chinese corporations, Chinese Railroad Rolling Stock Corporation (CRRSC) and Majestic Legend Holdings.
(For a video of Congressman DeFazio speaking on the House Floor in support of the Iran Nuclear Agreement, please click here.)