House votes to endorse NATO’s mutual defense pact

The House overwhelmingly passed a measure on Tuesday reaffirming the U.S. commitment to the NATO’s mutual defense clause after President Trump declined to in a speech abroad last month.

A bipartisan resolution, which was endorsed by all the top Democratic and GOP leaders, sailed through the House by a vote of 423-4.

“The United States must remain the world’s leading force for good, but we cannot confront the challenges of the 21st century alone. With all the threats we and our partners face around the globe, a strong and secure NATO is more important than ever before,” Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) said in a statement.

{mosads}Ryan led a bipartisan delegation in April to meet with top NATO leaders during a trip to Norway, Poland, Estonia and the United Kingdom amid rising tensions with Russia over its meddling in the U.S. presidential election last year.

About a month after Ryan led the delegation, Trump scolded U.S. allies for not spending enough on defense during a speech before NATO leaders.

Trump raised NATO allies’ eyebrows when he omitted an explicit endorsement of the treaty’s mutual defense clause, which establishes that a threat to one member nation is a threat to all.

The clause, known as Article 5, has only ever been invoked once: the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on the U.S.

Vice President Pence and United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley have since said that the U.S. still supports NATO’s Article 5 despite the omission from Trump’s speech.

Trump also eventually confirmed that “I’m committing the United States to Article 5” during a press conference with Romanian President Klaus Iohannis.

House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) sought a vote on a resolution reaffirming the mutual defense clause after visiting Denmark, Belgium, Lithuania and Estonia near the time of Trump’s NATO speech. He collaborated with Ryan and House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) upon his return for the House to go on record in support of NATO commitments.

“We, the United States, the leader of the free world, must make it clear, unequivocally so, both to Vladimir Putin and to our NATO allies that the United States stands firmly by its commitments to the alliance and its collective defense,” Hoyer said during House floor debate.

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