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 TrumpTrump: I hope voters pay attention to Dem tactics amid Kavanaugh fight South Korea leader: North Korea agrees to take steps toward denuclearization Graham calls handling of Kavanaugh allegations 'a drive-by shooting' 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 KainePoll: Kaine leads GOP challenger by 19 points in Va. Senate race GOP offers to ban cameras from testimony of Kavanaugh accuser Corey Stewart fires aide who helped bring far-right ideas to campaign: report MORE (D-Va.), Cory GardnerCory Scott GardnerSome employees' personal data revealed in State Department email breach: report Colorado governor sets up federal PAC before potential 2020 campaign Hillicon Valley: Trump signs off on sanctions for election meddlers | Russian hacker pleads guilty over botnet | Reddit bans QAnon forum | FCC delays review of T-Mobile, Sprint merger | EU approves controversial copyright law MORE (R-Colo.), Jack ReedJohn (Jack) Francis ReedNew York Times: Trump mulling whether to replace Mattis after midterms Overnight Defense: Biden honors McCain at Phoenix memorial service | US considers sending captured ISIS fighters to Gitmo and Iraq | Senators press Trump on ending Yemen civil war Senators press Trump administration on Yemen civil war MORE (D-R.I.) and John McCainJohn Sidney McCainTrump administration weakens methane pollution standards for drilling on public lands Another recession could hit US in 2019, says credit union association chief R-E-S-P-E-C-T: One legacy of Franklin and McCain is up to us 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.