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 TrumpPapadopoulos on AG's new powers: 'Trump is now on the offense' Pelosi uses Trump to her advantage Mike Pence delivers West Point commencement address 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 KaineOvernight Defense: Details on Senate's 0B defense bill | Bill rejects Trump plan to skirt budget caps | Backfills money for border wall | Defense chief says more troops could head to Mideast Dem senator plans amendment to restrict military action against Iran Overnight Defense: Iran worries dominate foreign policy talk | Pentagon reportedly to send WH plans for 10K troops in Mideast | Democrats warn Trump may push through Saudi arms sale | Lawmakers blast new Pentagon policy on sharing info MORE (D-Va.), Cory GardnerCory Scott GardnerSenate Republicans running away from Alabama abortion law Frustrated GOP senators want answers from Trump on Iran Graham: Trump officials not adequately briefing on Iran threat MORE (R-Colo.), Jack ReedJohn (Jack) Francis ReedTrump defense pick expected to face tense confirmation Senate panel advances Trump's Space Force Senate panel rejects Trump plan to skirt budget caps, advances defense bill that backfills wall money MORE (D-R.I.) and John McCainJohn Sidney McCainClimate change is a GOP issue, too It's Joe Biden's 2020 presidential nomination to lose Meghan McCain on Pelosi-Trump feud: 'Put this crap aside' and 'work together for America' 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.