Senior Democratic and Republican leaders in the Senate have signed a resolution supporting Finland and Sweden’s entry into NATO and urging President Joe Biden to speed up the process.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York State and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, Republican of Kentucky, said Monday that they co-sponsor the resolution, which is symbolic but indicates strong bipartisan support for joining the two European nations. Or the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.
The non-binding resolution will be approved by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Thursday.
The Senate is not expected to adopt legislation approving NATO expansion until this summer. It requires the support of two-thirds of the Senate, and is expected to pass easily.
The Four page resolution — Authored by Senator Bob Menendez, DN.J. and Jim Risch, R-Idaho, Leaders of the Committee on Foreign Relations – states that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine “significantly altered the security situation in Europe,” and that NATO expansion is critical to ensuring the security of the United States and its European allies.
Finland shares a border of 800 miles with Russia.
The resolution also calls on the Biden administration to “move quickly” to complete all documents and reports needed for the Senate to sign off on NATO expansion, and calls on other NATO members to quickly complete their certification process.
“As the world’s democracies unite against… [Russian President Vladimir] “Putin and his cronies, and the ascension of Finland and Sweden into NATO will be a further reprimand of Putin’s murderous attack on Ukraine,” Schumer said in a statement.
“The people of Ukraine continue to bravely fight against Russian aggression and every democracy around the world has an obligation to stand by Ukraine.”
McConnell added, “Finland and Sweden are two powerful countries with formidable military capabilities that outweigh many of our current NATO allies. The strong defense funding of both countries means that their accession will meaningfully advance our quest for greater burden sharing across the alliance.”
Their comments come just days after Schumer, McConnell and other senators hosted Swedish Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson and Finnish President Sauli Niinisto on Capitol Hill. The two European leaders also met Biden during their visit to Washington.
On the same day, the Senate voted 86 to 11 to pass $40 billion in military, economic, and humanitarian aid to Ukraine as it defends itself against Russia’s bloody invasion.
All 11 votes of disapproval came from Republicans, some of whom said they had not yet decided how they would vote for NATO expansion.
I want to make sure that it does not increase America’s security commitments in Europe. “I definitely want to make sure there’s no need for more troops,” Senator Josh Hawley told reporters last week. “My view is that we need, in general, to do less in Europe and look toward Asia and the Pacific in terms of our foreign policy challenges.”
Julie Tserkin And Frank Thorpe V Contributed.