By Dave DeCamp / Antiwar.com
The bipartisan consensus for expanding NATO remains strong as the House approved a resolution on Monday endorsing Sweden and Finland’s memberships in a vote of 394-18, with only Republicans voting in opposition.
On Tuesday, the Senate Armed Services Committee easily gave approval for Sweden and Finland’s NATO bids, setting up a vote in the Senate that could come as soon as next week. The Senate panel approved the measure by voice vote, with Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), a critic of NATO expansion, taking a neutral stance by voting “present.”
In order for the US to approve Sweden and Finland joining NATO, it needs to be ratified by two-thirds of the Senate. While there may be some Republicans that vote against the measure, it’s likely the effort to expand NATO will easily pass through the Senate.
NATO members signed the ascension protocols for Sweden and Finland at the end of June, which sends the approval for the Nordic nations’ NATO bids to each member’s legislature. Turkey has repeatedly warned that its parliament could block the two nations from joining if they don’t live up to an agreement signed at the end of June that led to Ankara lifting its objection to their NATO bids.
Finland shares an over 800-mile border with Russia, and its ascension into NATO would double the alliance’s frontier with Russia. Moscow has said it does not view Sweden and Finland joining the alliance as much of a threat but has warned it will respond to the expansion of NATO military infrastructure in the region.
The House Republicans who voted against expanding NATO further on Russia’s border are Reps. Thomas Massie (KY), Andy Biggs (AZ), Dan Bishop (NC), Lauren Boebert (CO), Madison Cawthorn (NC), Ben Cline (VA), Michael Cloud (TX), Warren Davidson (OH), Matt Gaetz (FL), Bob Good (VA), Marjorie Taylor Greene (GA), Morgan Griffith (VA), Tom McClintock (CA), Mary Miller (IL), Ralph Norman (SC), Matt Rosendale (MT), Chip Roy (TX) and Jefferson Van Drew (NJ).