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 TrumpGraham says he hopes that Trump runs again Trump says Stacey Abrams 'might be better than existing governor' Kemp Executive privilege fight poses hurdles for Trump 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 RomneyGraham tries to help Trump and McConnell bury the hatchet GOP senator will 'probably' vote for debt limit increase Five questions and answers about the debt ceiling fight 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.  

ADVERTISEMENT

Sens. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamGraham says he hopes that Trump runs again Trump pushes back on book claims, says he spent 'virtually no time' discussing election with Lee, Graham The Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by Facebook - Biden meets with lawmakers amid domestic agenda panic MORE (R-S.C.), Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioThe Memo: Biden's immigration problems reach crescendo in Del Rio Democrats face bleak outlook in Florida The Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by Facebook - Dems attempt to tie government funding, Ida relief to debt limit MORE (R-Fla.), Christopher CoonsChris Andrew CoonsDems punch back over GOP holdup of Biden SBA nominee Biden threatens more sanctions on Ethiopia, Eritrea over Tigray conflict Senate Democrats to Garland: 'It's time to end the federal death penalty' MORE (D-Del.), Tim KaineTimothy (Tim) Michael KainePanic begins to creep into Democratic talks on Biden agenda Congress facing shutdown, debt crisis with no plan B Democrats confront 'Rubik's cube on steroids' MORE (D-Va.) and Jeanne ShaheenCynthia (Jeanne) Jeanne ShaheenKoch-backed group launches 7-figure ad blitz opposing .5T bill Senate lawmakers let frustration show with Blinken We have a plan that prioritizes Afghanistan's women — we're just not using it 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.

ADVERTISEMENT

“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