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Bipartisan bill would require Senate's approval to withdraw from NATO

Bipartisan bill would require Senate's approval to withdraw from NATO
© Greg Nash
A bipartisan group of senators introduced legislation on Thursday to require President TrumpDonald John TrumpPennsylvania Supreme Court strikes down GOP bid to stop election certification Biden looks to career officials to restore trust, morale in government agencies Sunday shows preview: US health officials brace for post-holiday COVID-19 surge MORE to get the Senate's approval before he withdraws the United States from the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). 
The bill—from Sens. Tim KaineTimothy (Tim) Michael KaineDemocrats face increasing pressure to back smaller COVID-19 stimulus Rick Scott tests positive for coronavirus Grassley tests positive for coronavirus MORE (D-Va.), Cory GardnerCory GardnerHillicon Valley: Trump fires top federal cybersecurity official, GOP senators push back | Apple to pay 3 million to resolve fight over batteries | Los Angeles Police ban use of third-party facial recognition software Senate passes bill to secure internet-connected devices against cyber vulnerabilities Democrats vent to Schumer over Senate majority failure MORE (R-Colo.), Jack ReedJack ReedTop Democrat calls Trump's Afghan drawdown 'the right policy decision' as others warn of 'mistake' Overnight Defense: Trump fires Defense chief Mark Esper | Worries grow about rudderless post-election Pentagon | Esper firing hints at broader post-election shake-up | Pelosi says Esper firing shows Trump intent on sowing 'chaos' Esper firing hints at broader post-election shake-up MORE (D-R.I.) and John McCainJohn Sidney McCainBiden eyeing Cindy McCain for UK ambassador position: report The Memo: GOP mulls its future after Trump Juan Williams: Obama's dire warnings about right-wing media MORE (R-Ariz.)—would require Trump to get the support of two-thirds of the Senate if he wanted to withdraw from the alliance or modify U.S. membership. 
 
It would also authorize the Senate Legal Counsel to challenge any attempt by the administration to withdraw from NATO without the Senate's consent in court. 

"Just as it was required to join NATO, Senate approval should be required before this President – or any U.S. President - can withdraw,” Kaine said in a statement.

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McCain added that Trump's "mistreatment of our closest allies" had "raised doubts" about the U.S. commitment to NATO. 
 
"In the future, the Senate must be prepared to defend its constitutional role. This legislation is urgently required to ensure that no president can withdraw the United States from NATO without the constitutionally required advice and consent of the Senate," he said. 
 
Currently, presidents are required to get the consent of the Senate to enter into treaties. Article 13 of the NATO treaty requires a country give a one-year "notice of denunciation" before it can exit NATO. 
 
Trump hasn't publicly threatened to withdraw from NATO but his rhetoric at a summit in Brussels earlier this month rattled long-time allies and stunned lawmakers. 
 
And multiple reports indicated that he privately threatened to withdraw from NATO if other countries did not commit to increasing their defense spending. He did not deny those reporters during a press conference, instead saying he was "very firm" with allies. 

“I think I can probably can [pull out of NATO], but that’s unnecessary, and the people have stepped up today like they’ve never stepped up before,” Trump added.

His rhetoric also sparked backlash on Capitol Hill, where the Senate used a non-binding procedural vote to signal their support for NATO.

Two House members introduced separate legislation on Thursday to prevent tax dollars from being used to withdraw the United States from NATO.