H.J. Res. 89, introduced in the House last month, mandates any president who intends to withdraw the United States from NATO to acquire congressional approval or advice and consent from two-thirds of the U.S. Senate.
U.S. Reps. Jennifer McClellan and Gerry Connolly of Virginia, Brian Fitzpatrick of Pennsylvania and Mike Turner of Ohio introduced the bipartisan joint resolution to strengthen congressional authority concerning the nation’s membership in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) Alliance.
“The United States has a long and productive history as an engaged founding member and leader of NATO,” McClellan said. “Given Russia’s continued malign behavior towards the United States and our allies, as well as their illegal and inhumane invasion of Ukraine, our nation’s continued leadership in NATO is more important than ever and vital to our national interests. Approximately 19 months ago when Vladimir Putin launched his invasion of Ukraine, there was an expectation among many that the NATO alliance would bend. Today the opposite is true and the alliance is stronger than ever. It will only remain that way with America’s continued leadership. We owe it to our long-standing allies to ensure that decisions regarding our membership in NATO are not made hastily, or unilaterally without proper oversight from Congress. I am proud to co-lead this bipartisan joint resolution with my congressional colleagues to safeguard America’s international relationships and our position on the global stage.”
The joint resolution is cosponsored by 24 members, including Reps. Jennifer Wexton, who represents Virginia’s District 10, and Abigail Spanberger, who represents District 7. The resolution also authorizes the House and Senate to retain counsel for any legal procedures or court challenges tied to the establishment of Congress’s authority to uphold U.S. commitments as a member of NATO.
“If it wasn’t clear before Russia’s brutal invasion of Ukraine, it’s certainly clear now: NATO, and U.S. leadership within the Alliance, is more important than ever,” Connolly said. “That’s why I introduced amendments to this year’s Defense and State & Foreign Operations Appropriations bills that would prohibit any funds from being used to withdraw the United States from NATO, an identical prohibition as is contained in this resolution. As the former President of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly, I have seen how the world needs NATO and NATO needs the United States.”
According to Fitzpatrick, membership in NATO is critical to the security and economic stability of the U.S. and its Western coalition of allies.
“As a member of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly, I firmly believe that our nation’s responsibility to lead the alliance has never been more important. This bipartisan resolution ensures that the integrity of the alliance is maintained and the sole authority of Congress to determine the status of America’s treaty obligations is reaffirmed,” Fitzpatrick said.
Turner is head of the U.S. Delegation to the NATO Parliamentary Assembly and said he understands the unique role the U.S. has in NATO’s defense mission.
“This bipartisan resolution strengthens our relationship with NATO and reaffirms the United States’ unwavering partnership with our allies in the alliance. Under Vladimir Putin’s orders, Russia violated international law by invading an independent nation and continues to take aggressive steps to escalate the war in Ukraine, putting innocent men, women, and children at risk. In an increasingly complex world of threats, this legislation will make certain that the President of the United States respects Congress’s Constitutional role in our international engagements,” Turner said.
U.S. Sens. Tim Kaine of Virginia and Marco Rubio of Florida introduced companion legislation in the Senate.