Senate votes to ratify Sweden and Finland’s NATO membership

NATO formalized his invitation Sweden and Finland to join the alliance at the end of June and the decision must be submitted to the parliaments and legislatures of the 30 member states for final ratification.
President Joe Biden sent the protocols for ratification in the Senate in July, paving the way for the vote, which needed to be approved by two-thirds of the Senate to pass. The final Senate vote tally was 95 to 1, with GOP Sen. Josh Hawley of Missouri voting in opposition and GOP Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky voting present.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer announced on Tuesday that the vote to approve the resolution to ratify Sweden and Finland’s NATO bid would take place and said he had invited the ambassadors of Finland and Sweden to join the podium during debates and votes.

“Our NATO alliance is the bedrock that has guaranteed democracy in the Western world since the end of World War II. It strengthens NATO even further and is particularly needed in light of the recent Russian aggression,” he said. Schumer said in remarks from the Senate.

“When Chef McConnell and I met with the President of Finland and the Prime Minister of Sweden in May, we made a commitment to do this as soon as possible and certainly before we returned home for the August holidays,” Schumer said.

Once the Senate approves Sweden’s and Finland’s NATO accession protocols, “the next step in the ratification process is for the president to sign an instrument of ratification of the treaty,” a doorman said. State Department spokesman to CNN.

“Once the president has signed an instrument of ratification, that instrument is deposited (in the case of a multilateral treaty) with the depositary of the treaty,” which, in the case of NATO, is the Department, said the spokesperson.

These steps will not occur on the same day of Senate approval and final arrangements for depositing the instrument of ratification have not yet been made, the spokesperson told CNN.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell predicted in remarks on the floor Wednesday ahead of the vote that it would be “as decisive as it is bipartisan.”

McConnell argued that the admission of Sweden and Finland to NATO “will only strengthen the most successful military alliance in the history of mankind”.

McConnell also used his speaking time to target lawmakers who don’t support the resolution.

“If a senator is looking for a valid excuse to vote no, I wish him luck,” he said. “It’s a national security slam dunk that deserves unanimous bipartisan support.”

Sweden and Finland both announced their intention to join NATO in May, after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine prompted a sudden change in attitude towards joining the bloc.

The reason most countries join NATO is due to article 5, which states that all signatories treat an attack on one member as an attack on all. Article 5 has been the cornerstone of the alliance since its inception in 1949 as a counterweight to the Soviet Union.
Hawley explained his position on the issue in a recent op-ed in national interest titled “Why I won’t vote to add Sweden and Finland to NATO”.

“Finland and Sweden want to join the Atlantic Alliance to avoid further Russian aggression in Europe,” he wrote. “That’s completely understandable given their location and their security needs. But America’s greatest foreign adversary isn’t hovering over Europe. It’s hovering over Asia. I speak well of the People’s Republic of China. And when it comes to Chinese imperialism, the American people should know the truth: The United States is not prepared to resist it. security in Europe would only aggravate this problem and make America less secure.

Paul also set out his position in an editorial in the American Conservative.

“With regard to Sweden and Finland, we still need a serious, rational and objective debate on the costs and benefits of admitting two historically neutral nations which have such a strategic geographical position in relation to the Russia,” he wrote. “Before the Russian invasion, I would have said no. But given the Russian actions, I have gone from being against their admission to NATO to neutral on the issue, and will vote ‘present’ accordingly.”

CNN’s Jennifer Hansler contributed to this report.

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