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Kaine, Colleagues Reintroduce Bipartisan Bill To Prevent Any President From Leaving NATO

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senators Tim Kaine (D-VA), Cory Gardner (R-CO), Jack Reed (D-RI), Lindsey Graham, (R-SC), Chris Coons (D-DE), Marco Rubio (R-FL), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), and Susan Collins (R-ME) reintroduced a bipartisan bill to explicitly prohibit any President of the United States from withdrawing from NATO without Senate approval. Just this week, reports indicate that over the past year, President Trump repeatedly raised withdrawing the United States from NATO.

The bill requires the President to seek the advice and consent of the Senate to suspend, terminate, or withdraw U.S. membership in NATO and formalizes the Senate’s opposition to doing so. If the President attempts to leave NATO without Senate approval, this bill prohibits any funding from being used to do so and also authorizes Congressional Legal Counsel to challenge the Administration in court.

“President Trump’s repeated threats to withdraw from NATO are dangerous,” said Kaine, member of the Senate Foreign Relations and Armed Services Committees. “Our NATO allies have fought alongside our troops since World War II, yet President Trump disparages these nations and cozies up to our adversaries. The President’s reckless decision-making—his abrupt withdrawal of U.S. troops from Syria and Afghanistan, his pullout from the Iran nuclear deal and Paris climate agreement, and his deference to Vladimir Putin —is destroying strategic partnerships we have forged with allies across the world. At a time of increased Russian aggression and global threats, our alliance with NATO is more important than ever to ensure the safety of the American people.”

“NATO is the most successful military alliance in history, and any effort to abandon it would be a monumental mistake,” said Gardner, member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. “I support the United States’ continued commitment to the alliance, including the provisions that require the armed support of all members in case of an attack on any one member, as was exercised after the 9/11 attack against the United States. As the Constitution requires and this legislation reaffirms, any change proposed by this administration or future administrations regarding America’s standing in this alliance can be done only with the advice and consent of the Senate.”

“As President Trump continues to find new ways to embolden Vladimir Putin and weaken the NATO alliance, this is a clear, bipartisan signal that Congress strongly rejects the idea of withdrawing from NATO.  President Trump may waffle, but Congress and the American people won’t.  We remain absolutely steadfast in our resolve to meet our commitments to the mutual defense of the NATO alliance,” said Reed, Ranking Member of the Senate Armed Services Committee. 

“As Russia continues to meddle in European politics and threaten its neighbors, we must not turn our backs on NATO, which has advanced American interests and values for 70 years.  I am proud to co-sponsor this bill, which reiterates the Senate’s unshakeable support for our NATO allies and European partners and will ensure President Trump cannot unilaterally withdraw the United States from the transatlantic alliance,” said Coons, member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

“NATO is more important than ever with Russia’s growing subversive activities in the region and beyond,” said Rubio, member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. “It is critical to our national security and the security of our allies in Europe that the United States remain engaged and play an active role in NATO.”

“Abandoning NATO would be a blunder of epic and enduring proportions. It would scuttle and sabotage relationships and alliances that are essential to our national security. Very simply: Congress must prevent the president from leaving NATO,” said Blumenthal, member of the Senate Armed Services Committee.

“Over the past seven decades, NATO has proven to be the world’s most successful military alliance and a major force for peace, stability, and prosperity.  It is critical that we reaffirm the United States’ commitment to this vital pillar of our national security,” said Collins.  “I encourage my colleagues to support this resolution, which would be a strong statement of support for this important alliance that serves the strategic interests of the United States.”

The full text of the bill can be viewed here.