The new Defense Department appropriations bill passed by Congress requires the Senate or an act of Congress to approve before any president can withdraw the United States from NATO.

This provision was introduced by Sens. Tim Kaine (D-Virginia) and Marco Rubio (R-Florida) and is part of the annual National Defense Authorization Act.

The Act cleared the House on Thursday and will be signed by President Joe Biden.

The inclusion of this clause highlights Congress’s dedication to the NATO alliance, which was heavily criticized by former President Donald Trump during his time in power. The significance of the alliance has gained renewed prominence under Biden, particularly following Russia’s large-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022.

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In a statement, Kaine said, “NATO has held strong in response to [Russian President Vladimir] Putin’s war in Ukraine and rising challenges around the world.” He also mentioned the U.S. support “for this crucial alliance that is foundational.”

In a statement, Rubio emphasized that the measure was essential for congressional oversight, aiming to safeguard the U.S. national interests and the security of its democratic allies.

Biden has made significant investments in the NATO alliance throughout his presidency, increasing the number of troops and military assets deployed to Europe as a demonstration of strength against Putin’s aggression. Additionally, he has played a crucial role in expanding the alliance by welcoming Finland as a member and actively striving to ensure Sweden’s full membership.

Trump, who is leading the race for the GOP presidential nomination, has expressed contradictory views regarding the alliance in anticipation of 2024. Supporters of the former president argue that his firm stance and criticisms of the alliance motivated member countries to meet their defense spending obligations, thereby reducing the load on the United States. Many experts believe that Trump would try to withdraw the U.S. from NATO if he wins a second term.

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