Senate votes 95-1 to add Sweden, Finland to NATO

Posted 6 days ago

From THEHILL.COM

The Senate on Wednesday voted overwhelmingly to approve a resolution ratifying Sweden’s and Finland’s accession to the NATO, sending another signal that Congress remains unified in opposing Russian aggression toward Ukraine and Europe.

The Senate voted 95 to 1 to approve the resolution, with every member of the Democratic caucus and most Republicans voting in support. It ratifies protocols of accession that NATO allies signed on July 5.

Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.), who argued in a recent op-ed that the United States should focus on containing China instead of expanding NATO, was the only Republican to vote “no.”  Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) voted “present” on the resolution.

“We cannot strengthen our deterrent posture in the Pacific if we’re sending more forces and resources to Europe to defend new allies. That’s the bottom line,” Hawley said on the floor before the vote.

The resolution was a top priority of Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), who visited Sweden and Finland in May as part of a congressional delegation that also met with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

McConnell insisted the Senate ratify Sweden’s and Finland’s NATO membership before leaving for the monthlong August recess.

“There is just no question that admitting these robust democratic countries with modern economies and capable, interoperable militaries will only strengthen the most successful military alliance in human history,” McConnell said on the Senate floor.

McConnell noted that Sweden and Finland already participate in NATO- and American-led missions and that Finland already meets NATO’s target that members spend at least 2 percent of their national gross domestic product on defense.

He suggested that Republican colleagues who voted against expanding NATO made a mistake, arguing that standing up to Russian aggression will send a strong message to Chinese leaders.... (Read more)