On Wednesday evening, the US Senate approved a resolution supporting it Finland and Sweden join NATO A crucial step in the two countries’ quest to join the 30-member alliance.
The Senate voted 95 to 1, with Missouri Republican Senator Josh Hawley voting “no,” and Senator Rand Paul, R-Kentucky, voting “present.”
The vote comes several weeks after the Senate Foreign Relations Committee approved the entry of Finland and Sweden into NATO. Lawmakers were working to get the order approved before the August recess.
Finland and Sweden announced their decision to formally join NATO within days of each other in May, ending their long-held neutrality in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. They submitted their applications simultaneously on May 18.
All 30 NATO members must ratify the two countries’ accession. seven countries Remains.
During Wednesday’s vote, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, Republican of Kentucky, peeked Paul and Hawley in a speech, saying, “Their accession will make NATO stronger and America safer. If any senator is looking for a defense they can Defend it. Sorry for voting No, I wish them good luck.”
Hawley allied with former President Donald Trump, saying the US could allocate more money and firepower to NATO “or do what we need to do to deter Asia and China. We can’t do both.”
Paul has always worked to keep the United States out of foreign conflicts. He introduced an amendment that most refused to seek to ensure that Congress’ role in authorizing military force would not be usurped by the NATO Common Defense Commitment, known as Article 5.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York State applauded the Senate vote, saying on twitter It is “more urgent given [Russian President Vladimir] Putin’s barbaric, immoral and unjustified war in Ukraine”.
President Joe Biden thanked a number of senators, including Schumer and McConnell, for moving the ratification process quickly.
“This historic vote sends an important signal to the United States’ continued and partisan commitment to NATO, and to ensuring that our alliance is prepared to meet the challenges of today and tomorrow,” the president said in a statement.
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