House passes bill expressing support for NATO

House passes bill expressing support for NATO
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The House passed bipartisan legislation on Tuesday expressing congressional support for the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).

The bill, which passed in a 357-22 vote, includes a provision rejecting any efforts made by President TrumpDonald John TrumpSenate gears up for battle over witnesses in impeachment trial Vulnerable Democrats tout legislative wins, not impeachment Trump appears to set personal record for tweets in a day MORE to potentially withdraw from the treaty. All the "no" votes were from conservative Republicans.

Its passage comes days after administration aides told The New York Times that Trump has repeatedly floated pulling out of NATO over the course of the past year — a move critics fear would embolden Russia and threaten strategic international military alliances.

The House-passed measure, spearheaded by Rep. Jimmy PanettaJames Varni PanettaOn The Money: Lawmakers strike spending deal | US, China reach limited trade deal ahead of tariff deadline | Lighthizer fails to quell GOP angst over new NAFTA House passes bill that would give legal status to thousands of undocumented farmworkers Providing more information on the prescription drug supply chain will help lower costs for all MORE (D-Calif.), would bar any funds from being used to withdraw from the alliance.

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“This bill makes it clear the United States Congress still believes in the NATO mission and will prevent any short-sighted efforts to undermine the NATO or unilaterally withdrawal our country,” House Majority Leader Steny HoyerSteny Hamilton HoyerOn The Money: Lawmakers strike spending deal | US, China reach limited trade deal ahead of tariff deadline | Lighthizer fails to quell GOP angst over new NAFTA Lawmakers strike spending deal to avert shutdown Vulnerable Democrats feel heat ahead of impeachment vote MORE (D-Md.) told reporters Tuesday, highlighting the alliance's role in the peaceful end to the Cold War.

The legislation also includes language calling on NATO members to meet their commitment of providing at least 2 percent of their GDP for defense spending, which was agreed upon in the 2014 Wales Defense Investment Pledge. It also promotes “robust funding for the European Deterrence Initiative to counter Russian aggression.”

"You know, all of us up here agree that we can continue to pressure our NATO allies to pay their self-stated goal of 2 percent of their GDP to the alliance. But that doesn't mean that we want to get out of here,” Panetta told reporters head of the vote.

“In fact, that would be a historic mistake. Because what we have to realize is that NATO is not just a transactional relationship," he said, adding that the focus "can't just be on who pays what and who gets what. Being a member of NATO is not like being a member of a country club.”

Panetta stressed that it is critical for the U.S. to remain in the alliance to help deter Russian aggression. He said other countries can work with the U.S. to prepare not only for the possibility of conventional war, but to “also push back against Russia's constant use of hybrid warfare.”

House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Eliot EngelEliot Lance EngelBombshell Afghanistan report bolsters calls for end to 'forever wars' House Democrats expected to unveil articles of impeachment Tuesday House approves two-state resolution in implicit rebuke of Trump MORE (D-N.Y.) cosponsored the legislation along with Reps. Tom MalinowskiThomas (Tom) MalinowskiVulnerable Democrats feel heat ahead of impeachment vote Democrats reach cusp of impeachment Pelosi's whiplash moment brings praise and criticism MORE (D-N.J.), Don Bacon (R-Neb.), Seth MoultonSeth MoultonOvernight Defense: House passes compromise defense bill | Turkey sanctions advance in Senate over Trump objections | Top general says military won't be 'raping, burning and pillaging' after Trump pardons Pentagon leaders: Trump clemencies won't affect military order and discipline Deval Patrick beefs up campaign staff MORE (D-Mass.), Will HurdWilliam Ballard HurdCongressional Hispanic Caucus campaign arm endorses two Texas Democrats Group of veterans call on lawmakers to support impeachment, 'put country over politics' CNN's Bianna Golodryga: 'Rumblings' from Democrats on censuring Trump instead of impeachment MORE (R-Texas), Abigail SpanbergerAbigail Davis SpanbergerKoch campaign touts bipartisan group behind ag labor immigration bill Pro-Trump group targets Democrats with 'End the Witch Hunt' campaign Club for Growth extends advertising against House Dems over impeachment MORE (D-Va.), Fred UptonFrederick (Fred) Stephen UptonConservative group hits White House with billboard ads: 'What is Trump hiding?' Shimkus says he's reconsidering retirement Shimkus says he's been asked to reconsider retirement MORE (R-Mich.), Chrissy Houlahan (D-Pa.), Adam KinzingerAdam Daniel KinzingerKoch campaign touts bipartisan group behind ag labor immigration bill Conservative group hits White House with billboard ads: 'What is Trump hiding?' Lawmakers spar over surveillance flight treaty with Russia MORE (R-Ill.) and Mike GallagherMichael (Mike) John GallagherImpeachment surprise: Bills Congress could actually pass in 2020 Statesmen seek bipartisan solutions to big challenges Colorado rep planning sunrise run to possible sites for military memorial MORE (R-Wis.).

Lawmakers who voted against the measure Tuesday included GOP Reps. 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The House isn’t the only chamber taking action to deter the administration from pulling out of NATO. A bipartisan group of lawmakers in the Senate recently reintroduced legislation aimed at preventing the commander-in-chief from withdrawing from the alliance without the approval of the upper chamber.