Congress Limits Presidents From Withdrawing From NATO, Thwarting Trump

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Former President Donald Trump has repeatedly spoken oppositionally around the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), suggesting in the tone of his rhetoric he’d seek to step back from the United States’ commitments under the alliance if re-elected president. In general terms, parameters of the organization demand member countries come to the defense of another member if that country is attacked, and the U.S. abandoning that commitment could significantly undercut it.

Now, both the House and Senate have approved a National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for the year that includes a ban on any president withdrawing the U.S. from participation in NATO on their own. The framework instead demands the agreement of two-thirds of the Senate or an act of Congress before any such action.

“The President shall not suspend, terminate, denounce, or withdraw the United States from the North Atlantic Treaty, done at Washington, DC, April 4, 1949, except by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, provided that two-thirds of the Senators present concur, or pursuant to an Act of Congress,” the legislation says. President Joe Biden was on track to sign the bill, significantly curtailing the possibilities for another Trump term in this key area.

Since Trump left office, NATO saw further expansion, with the European nation of Finland finalized as a new member and the nearby Sweden also seeking to join. Both countries undertook these moves amid the nearby war waged by Russian forces against Ukraine. Further aid from the U.S. for Ukraine is currently in legislative limbo amid opposition from some Republicans and demands from some in the same political corner for updates to border policy, with an actual timeline on progress unclear. It’s been consistently argued that, besides humanitarian concerns, the U.S. and its allies have a vested interest in Russia losing amid the war with Ukraine because of the possibility it pursues further aggression.