WASHINGTON — The Senate is expected to vote Wednesday on a resolution to ratify Finland’s and Sweden’s applications to join NATO as the Western military alliance seeks to strengthen its resolve against the threat posed by Russia.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said Tuesday evening that the chamber would vote Wednesday afternoon on the resolution and a pair of GOP amendments.
“Our NATO alliance is the bedrock that has guaranteed democracy in the Western world since the end of World War II,” he said on the Senate floor. “This strengthens NATO even further and is particularly needed in light of recent Russian aggression.”
Finland and Sweden are seeking to join the alliance, which would end their long-standing military neutrality, in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Schumer said when he and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., met with the Finnish president and the Swedish prime minister in May, they committed to ratifying their membership in NATO before the Senate’s August recess.
The majority leader also said that he has invited the ambassadors of Finland and Sweden to watch the debate and votes from the chamber’s gallery.
One of the amendments expected to be voted on, from Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., says the alliance’s agreement of collective defense if a member is attacked doesn’t supersede Congress’ role in declaring war. The other, from Sen. Dan Sullivan, R-Alaska, states that every member of NATO should commit to the 2% goal of gross domestic product spending.
NATO formally invited Finland and Sweden to join the alliance at the end of June, and all 30 NATO countries are considering their applications, which must be ratified by each member. Turkey initially threatened to oppose their membership in part over their perceived support for the banned Kurdistan Workers’ Party, but has since lifted its objections.
At least two-thirds of the Senate must vote in favor of the resolution for it to be ratified. Once that happens, the Biden administration will submit the documents to the alliance.
Kate Santaliz contributed.