WASHINGTON — The House Foreign Affairs Committee (HFAC) Chair opening must be filled by someone who will lead the committee in breaking from the failed status quo and advancing a progressive vision of U.S. foreign policy. Today, Demand Progress, Win Without War, MoveOn, IfNotNow, Yemeni Alliance Committee, Just Foreign Policy, and 64 other leading progressive organizations, sent a letter to House Democratic leadership calling to select a new HFAC Chair who is committed to military restraint, multilateral cooperation, and people-first policy, outlined in ten basic principles.
The letter, organized by Demand Progress and Win Without War, states “for years, there has been a disconnect between HFAC and the rest of the House Democratic Caucus regarding the United States’ most consequential foreign policy issues, such as the Iraq War, President Obama’s diplomatic agreement to limit Iran’s nuclear program, and the Trans Pacific Partnership. We ask that you take this opportunity to support someone for committee chair who has a demonstrated track record of foreign policy leadership reflecting the principles, priorities, and aspirations of both the Democratic Caucus and rank-and-file Democratic voters.”
“The American people are tired of endless wars and a destructive agenda of rampant militarization. Our domestic policies of police militarization, surveillance, institutionalized racism, and Islamophobia are inextricably linked to a militarized foreign policy,” said Yasmine Taeb, Senior Policy Counsel at Demand Progress. “We demand a fundamental shift in U.S. foreign policy with someone at the helm of the House Foreign Affairs Committee who is not beholden to special interests, will turn the page on 9/11 policies, and is committed to overhauling the committee.”
“The global pandemic has proven that funneling trillions of dollars into the Pentagon while slashing investments in human needs has made us less safe, not more. The nationwide uprisings against policing show that violence-first institutions don’t actually address the roots of our social ills,” said Win Without War Advocacy Director Erica Fein. “In this historic moment, people across the country are waking up to the need for a new approach to foreign policy. It’s time for HFAC to follow suit.”
“The overwhelming majority of Americans believe in a foreign policy grounded in diplomacy, racial and economic justice, and human rights,” said MoveOn Senior Political Advisor Dan Kalik. “It’s time for the House Chair of the Foreign Affairs committee to center these core values and make sure that Democrats are driving a new vision for a progressive foreign policy.”
“As American Jews, we know that any progressive foreign policy demands a dramatic shift in our approach to Israel/Palestine. Decades of failed American foreign policy have laid the groundwork for the Israeli government to inch closer and closer to formal annexation of the West Bank,” said Emily Mayer, Political Director of IfNotNow. “We are proud to join with so many others in demanding that the new leader of HFAC enact common-sense policy proposals, including placing conditions on US military funding to Israel so that we may facilitate a just solution to the Israeli/Palestinian conflict.”
“It is time HFAC represents American values and puts diplomacy and good faith at the forefront of foreign policy,” said Jehan Hakim, Director of the Yemeni Alliance Committee. “We must no longer be complicit while wars rage at home and abroad — wars that we support and equip with some of the most advanced artillery. The people of Yemen, for example, fully understand that bombs that drop on them are made in the U.S.A. The international community also realizes how the U.S militarizes the globe; and the American public will no longer tolerate endless wars in their name and resist military spending with their tax dollars.”
“The biggest challenges facing the US—the coronavirus pandemic, climate change, and economic breakdown—are global in scope and require a global response. Yet many American leaders are encouraging a new era of great power conflict that would foreclose the possibility of overcoming any of these threats,” said Tobita Chow, Director of Justice Is Global. “There is an urgent need for US foreign policy to prioritize international cooperation to meet human needs rather than competition between countries for profit and power.”
The letter calls to ensure that the next HFAC Chair be someone committed to (paraphrased):
- Ending our endless wars;
- Opposing militarization and surveillance at home;
- Putting diplomacy first;
- Opposing regime change and scrutinizing non-electoral transfers of power;
- Opposing broad-based sanctions that harm civilians;
- Supporting a just resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict;
- Building a global economy that prioritizes people and planet over corporate profit;
- Ending the rubber stamp of arms sales;
- Independence from special interests; and
- Welcoming migrants, refugees, and asylum-seekers, and eliminating the root causes of forced displacement.
The letter, and the full list of signers, is available here.