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 TrumpPence: It's not a "foregone conclusion" that lawmakers impeach Trump FBI identifies Pensacola shooter as Saudi Royal Saudi Air Force second lieutenant Trump calls Warren 'Pocahontas,' knocks wealth tax 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 Kaine'Granite Express' flight to take staffers, journalists to NH after Iowa caucuses Overnight Health Care — Presented by Johnson & Johnson — Senate panel approves Trump FDA pick | Biden downplays Dem enthusiasm around 'Medicare for All' | Trump officials unveil program for free HIV prevention drugs for uninsured Trump's FDA nominee approved by Senate panel MORE (D-Va.), Cory GardnerCory Scott GardnerHere are the Senate Republicans who could vote to convict Trump GOP senators unveil bill to expand 'opportunity zone' reporting requirements Overnight Health Care: House to vote next week on drug prices bill | Conway says Trump trying to find 'balance' on youth vaping | US spent trillion on hospitals in 2018 MORE (R-Colo.), Jack ReedJohn (Jack) Francis ReedRepublicans raise concerns over Trump pardoning service members Overnight Defense: Trump clashes with Macron at NATO summit | House impeachment report says Trump abused power | Top Dem scolds military leaders on Trump intervention in war crimes cases Top Armed Services Democrat scolds military leaders on Trump's intervention in war crimes cases MORE (D-R.I.) and John McCainJohn Sidney McCainMan acquitted over tweet offering 0 to killing an ICE agent Lessons of the Kamala Harris campaign Overnight Defense: Trump clashes with Macron at NATO summit | House impeachment report says Trump abused power | Top Dem scolds military leaders on Trump intervention in war crimes cases 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.