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Kaine Statement on Committee Passage of Legislation to Prevent Any U.S. President from Leaving NATO, Increase Oversight of Ambassadors, Enhance Taiwan’s Security

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, U.S. Senator Tim Kaine, who serves on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee (SFRC), issued the following statement after his legislation to prohibit any president from withdrawing the United States from NATO without the Senate’s advice and consent was passed by SFRC as part of this year’s State Department Authorization bill. The bill also included critical provisions of Kaine’s legislation to improve oversight of non-career U.S. ambassadors:

“Now more than ever, the United States needs to lean into our diplomatic relationships around the world. That means making sure that our commitment to NATO cannot be casually dissolved by any president, and that our diplomatic workforce, including those holding leadership positions, is meeting expectations and reaching its full potential in advancing American interests overseas. I’m glad I was able to secure legislation in this year’s State Department Authorization bill to help us achieve those goals. I also supported the Committee’s bipartisan approval of the Taiwan Policy Act, which underscores the United States’ firm commitment to Taiwan’s security and to stability in the Taiwan Strait, particularly in the face of increased hostility by Beijing against Taipei.”

Today’s announcement follows years of work by Kaine to prevent any president from unilaterally withdrawing the United States from NATO. In 2018, remarks by former President Trump attacking American allies at a NATO summit prompted Kaine to work with Senator Jack Reed (D-RI) and former Senators Cory Gardner (R-CO) and John McCain (R-AZ) to introduce legislation to require any president to seek the advice and consent of the Senate to modify or terminate U.S. membership in NATO. This year will mark the 73rd anniversary of the signing of the North Atlantic Treaty, which established NATO.

The State Department Authorization bill also includes a provision to increase oversight of non-career ambassadors, which was first included in Kaine’s Ambassador Oversight and Transparency Act. This provision would encourage the nomination of more qualified non-career nominees by increasing oversight of their performance. Specifically, it would enable U.S. citizen embassy staff to voluntarily complete an anonymous annual survey that assesses the leadership of the post, and authorize the Director General of the Foreign Service to refer deficiencies in performance to the Inspector General.

The next step for the legislation is consideration before the full Senate, which is expected later this year.