The new war in Iraq and Syria is being justified by the old blank check authorization from 2001. Now is the time to end it. Two administrations have invoked this law to justify war, deadly drone attacks, detentions at Guantanamo Bay, and now U.S. airstrikes in Iraq and Syria. We have worked with our constituents to convince more than 200 members of Congress to vote for this law's repeal at one time or another. Now, we are leading efforts to stop military action in Iraq and Syria and pursue a strategy that will bring long-term peace.
For the first time in 30 years, the U.S. and Iran are engaged in robust, sustained, high‐level diplomacy,
which is already reducing the likelihood that Iran will develop nuclear weapons. Congress should
support, not undermine, this progress. We've helped persuade 191 members of Congress to speak out in favor of negotiations and, in the last 14 months, our network has published 205 letters to the editor in 46 states in favor of diplomacy. Just days before the negotiations' deadline, more than 300 people will be in Washington to lobby for diplomacy as part of our Quaker Public Policy Institute.
FCNL is helping to create space for congressional action on climate change. We’ve met with more than
30 Democratic and Republican lawmakers to urge them to act as leaders, parents and people of faith.
Many lawmakers have expressed private support, and this fall, a Republican representative publicly
agreed to draft a resolution calling for Congress to acknowledge and act on climate change. We are
working with faith and other partners to build more bipartisan support and pass legislation in the next
The government program to transfer military weapons, vehicles and equipment from the wars in Iraq
and Afghanistan to U.S. police departments is both a symptom and a cause of the militarized approach
to policing. In 2013, FCNL began working with members of Congress to rein in this program. We lobbied Congress, organized hearings and published opinion pieces in The New York Times and other outlets. This fall, we worked with members in both chambers to introduce bipartisan legislation that would put needed checks on this program.
Our lobbying has helped convince Congress that the Pentagon should not be exempt from budget cuts.
Current law keeps the Pentagon on a path to reduce its planned expenditures by $850 billion by 2022.
Yet more work remains: Pentagon spending is still near the same levels as at the height of the Cold War,
and President Obama is proposing budget increases in 2016.
Effective peacebuilding begins years before a potential conflict. In advance of the 2013 Kenyan elections,
FCNL worked closely with Quakers in Kenya to encourage U.S. government support for Kenyan efforts to
prevent and mitigate violence. Now, we are doing similar work in Burundi, where elections in 2015 could be a flashpoint for new violence. Thanks in part to our efforts, the administration's interagency body, the Atrocities Prevention Board, has spent the last year focusing on how the U.S. can support violence prevention in Burundi.
At a standing‐room‐only briefing in June co‐organized by FCNL, faith leaders urged members of Congress
and their staff to take charge of the rules that govern campaign spending. Working with other faith
communities through op‐eds, lobbying and other engagement, FCNL is building support for a
constitutional amendment that would restore congressional power to regulate campaign spending.
The Smarter Sentencing Act would halve the length of mandatory sentences, give judges more
discretion on sentences for many drug offenses and allow thousands of federal prisoners to seek fairer
sentences. That bipartisan legislation cleared a significant hurdle in 2014 when it passed the Senate
Judiciary Committee with FCNL's active support. We continue to advocate for its passage, even as we
work to remove language that would require new mandatory minimum sentences for some non‐drug
So far in 2014, FCNL constituents have written more than 200 letters to the editor published in local newspaper
outlets. The power of these letters to influence members of Congress is strengthened by a continued
string of op‐eds authored by FCNL staff in publications such as The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Roll Call, U.S. News & World Report, USA Today, CNN and Fox News.