U.S. Senate Votes to Support Finland, Sweden in Joining NATO

The United States Senate overwhelmingly approved on Aug. 3  a resolution supporting Finland’s and Sweden’s applications to join the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).

In a final vote of 95 to 1, the Senate passed the resolution ratifying Finland’s and Sweden’s accession to the 30-member military alliance.

The resolution calls on all NATO members to move quickly to complete the ratification process to allow the two European countries to become members, which would end their long-held positions of neutrality in the wake of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

“Their membership will strengthen NATO. It will advance the cause of democracy,” Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said in announcing the vote.

The U.S. government is now expected to submit the ratification documents to NATO.

The only “no” vote came from Republican Senator Josh Hawley, who argued on the Senate floor before the vote that “we cannot strengthen our deterrent posture in the Pacific if we’re sending more forces and resources to Europe to defend new allies.”

“The world’s greatest imperial threat is in Asia,” Hawley said.

Hawley said that the U.S. should focus “to do what we must to deter imperial China.”

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, to whom the resolution was a top priority, argued that standing up to Russian aggression will send a strong message to Chinese leaders.

“Even closer cooperation with these partners will help us counter Russia and China. Their accession will make NATO stronger and America more secure,” McConnell said.

“If any senator is looking for a defensible excuse to vote ‘no,’ I wish them good luck. This is a slam dunk for national security that deserves unanimous bipartisan support,” McConnell added.

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