House appropriators to explore role of NATO in hearings

"But in the meantime, it's important that we don't do any serious damage to NATO, which is probably one of the most effective international organizations at maintaining peace that we have in the world," Young added.

Young's remarks were made as the House was considering an amendment to the Defense Department Appropriations Act that would terminate a NATO Cooperative Research and Development program in the U.S. Navy. The House will vote on this amendment, from Rep. Paul Broun (R-Ga.), later Wednesday.

Broun argued on the floor that the Defense Department has charged recently that other NATO governments are not pulling their own weight and some European governments are using NATO funding to subsidize their militaries. His amendment would have sent the $9 million saved into a Navy cooperative program involving Israel.

Broun offered another amendment that would take another $4.4 million from a Navy NATO program and move it to an Israel-related program. The House will also vote on this language later Wednesday.

The hearings in the appropriations committee would follow recent criticism from Congress. During a June House debate, several members questioned the need for having allies in NATO that needed the U.S. to take on the majority of responsibilities in the Libya operation.