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Senators aim to limit Trump's ability to remove troops from Germany

A bipartisan group of senators is trying to place limits on President TrumpDonald John TrumpBiden adds to vote margin over Trump after Milwaukee County recount Krebs says allegations of foreign interference in 2020 election 'farcical'  Republicans ready to become deficit hawks again under a President Biden MORE's ability to remove troops from Germany unless the administration is able to meet a slew of requirements. 

The proposal, spearheaded by Sen. Mitt RomneyWillard (Mitt) Mitt RomneyThe Memo: GOP mulls its future after Trump Biden teams to meet with Trump administration agencies Paul Ryan calls for Trump to accept results: 'The election is over' MORE (R-Utah), would prohibit the administration from reducing the number of active-duty troops in Germany below 34,500 unless the Pentagon can certify to Congress that it is in the national security interest of the United States and would not negatively undermine European alliances or NATO. 

It would also require the Defense secretary to certify that the move would not impact the U.S. military's ability to "execute contingency plans," wouldn't negatively impact ongoing operations, won't impact military families and that the Pentagon has consulted with allies including NATO and Germany.  

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Sens. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamRepublicans ready to become deficit hawks again under a President Biden Let's give thanks to Republican defenders of democracy Clyburn: Biden falling short on naming Black figures to top posts MORE (R-S.C.), Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioThe Memo: GOP mulls its future after Trump The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by the UAE Embassy in Washington, DC - COVID-19 fears surround Thanksgiving holiday Rubio signals opposition to Biden Cabinet picks MORE (R-Fla.), Christopher CoonsChris Andrew CoonsDemocrats face increasing pressure to back smaller COVID-19 stimulus Biden rolls out national security team Democrats brush off calls for Biden to play hardball on Cabinet picks MORE (D-Del.), 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.) and Jeanne ShaheenCynthia (Jeanne) Jeanne ShaheenTop Democrat calls Trump's Afghan drawdown 'the right policy decision' as others warn of 'mistake' Overnight Defense: How members of the Armed Services committees fared in Tuesday's elections | Military ballots among those uncounted in too-close-to-call presidential race | Ninth US service member killed by COVID-19 Biden wins New Hampshire MORE (D-N.H.) are co-sponsoring the proposal.  

The senators want to get it included in the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), a mammoth defense policy bill set to be debated by the Senate this week. Hundreds of amendments are filed to the NDAA every year but only a handful normally end up getting a roll-call vote on the floor.  

In addition to Romney's amendment, Graham filed a separate proposal throwing the Senate's support behind the U.S.-Germany relationship. 

"The presence of United States military forces in Germany is a strong deterrent against Russian aggression in Europe and strengthens the capability of NATO," Graham's resolution reads.  

Trump confirmed earlier this month that he would cut the number of U.S. service members in Germany to 25,000, a decision that has been met with bipartisan scrutiny.

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“Germany’s delinquent,” Trump said at the time. “They’ve been delinquent for years, and they owe NATO billions of dollars, and they have to pay it. So we’re protecting Germany, and they’re delinquent. That doesn’t make sense.” 

Germany is not on track to meet NATO’s goal of spending 2 percent of its gross domestic product on defense. But it is not “delinquent” to NATO as Trump describes because the spending is not a payment to NATO — it is spending on a country’s own defense — and the goal does not have to be met until 2024. 

— Rebecca Kheel contributed