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 $10 trillion. Over the next six years, it is estimated to spend $4 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. He continues to advocate for investing the $100 billion the U.S. spends in Afghanistan each year in America's economy, infrastructure, and education system.
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 and has repeatedly sponsored bills to mandate a safe and orderly withdrawal of U.S. troops.
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. After President Obama committed U.S. forces in Libya, DeFazio introduced legislation requiring the President to acquire Congressional authorization for any conflict lasting more than 60 days. Click here to read more about Congressman DeFazio’s War Powers bill.
DeFazio has serious concerns about Iran's support for terrorist organizations such as Hezbollah and Hamas, its drive to undermine U.S. interests in Iraq and the region, and its pursuit of developing nuclear weapons. DeFazio supports a policy of containment through active diplomacy, working with U.S. allies in Europe, and imposing severe multilateral economic sanctions on the Iranian regime.
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.
DeFazio-- US Military Deployed at World War II Levels KLCC, June 30, 2011
EDITORIAL: The War Over War Powers Register-Guard, June 2, 2011
DeFazio Explains His Vote Against War Funding Albany Democrat Herald, May 25, 2007
EDITORIAL: Answer the questions- Bush has yet to adequately justify Iraq war Register-Guard, September 12, 2002
06.24.10: DeFazio Urges New Policy In Afghanistan
06.16.06: DeFazio Opposes Partisan Iraq Resolution
10.10.02: DeFazio Votes Against Iraq Resolution
10.07.02: DeFazio Responds to Bush Speech on Iraq