Shaheen Helps Reintroduce Bipartisan Bill to Prevent Any President From Leaving NATO

April 16, 2021

(Washington, DC) – U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Europe Subcommittee and co-chair of the Senate NATO Observer Group, helped reintroduce a bipartisan bill with Senators Tim Kaine (D-VA) and Marco Rubio (R-FL) to explicitly prohibit any President of the United States from withdrawing from NATO without Senate approval. The bill requires the President to seek the advice and consent of the Senate before suspending, terminating or withdrawing U.S. membership in NATO and formalizes the Senate’s opposition to doing so. If a 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.

“For more than seven decades, NATO has been crucial to safeguarding U.S. national security and global stability from belligerent actors who seek to sow chaos,” said Senator Shaheen. “Congress must send a clear, bipartisan signal to our allies that we are committed to the bond of this alliance – especially in the face of increasing aggression from adversaries like Russia. This is a commonsense bill that ensures no U.S. president can unilaterally remove our presence from NATO without the consent of the Senate.”

In December 2019, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee passed a previous version of this bill, but the bill did not receive a vote on the Senate floor before the conclusion of the 116th Congress. April marks the 72nd anniversary of the signing of the North Atlantic Treaty, which established NATO.

Senators Shaheen re-established the Senate NATO Observer Group in 2018 with Senator Thom Tillis (R-NC) with an expanded mission to closely monitor and inform Senators outside of national security committees about defense spending commitments of Alliance members, the process of upgrading military capabilities, the Alliance’s counter-terrorism capability and the ability of NATO member states to address non-conventional warfare.

The full text of the bill can be viewed here.