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Senate votes down measure to rein in NATO war-making authority

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Washington Examiner | by W. James Antle, III | July 19, 2023

The Senate on Wednesday rejected an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act that would have clarified that Article 5 of the NATO treaty does not obviate the need for Congress to declare war.

Article 5 holds that an attack on any NATO member must be treated as an attack on the whole alliance, as part of the collective defense commitment.

Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) introduced the measure as NATO membership for Ukraine is being discussed while the country is at war with nuclear-armed Russia.

The final vote was 83 to 16.

President Joe Biden has opposed admitting Ukraine to NATO while it is still at war with Russia to avoid being drawn into the conflict under Article 5, even as the United States and other Western allies fortify Ukrainian defenses against the Kremlin’s invasion.

The amendment needed 60 votes to pass. Instead, well over 60 senators voted against it.

Senators had already voted to tie the president’s hands when it came to withdrawing from NATO without Senate approval.

Supporters of expanding NATO to include Ukraine believe it would have deterred the Russians from invading in the first place.

Opponents worry Ukrainian NATO membership would lead to what Biden has described as “World War III” and that enlarging the alliance near Russia’s borders was a motivating factor in the invasion.

Paul’s amendment would have required congressional authorization of a war triggered by Article 5.

A bipartisan group of senators rejected the proposal as lawmakers rush to come up with an agreement on the must-pass NDAA legislation.

Source: Senate votes down measure to rein in NATO war-making authority | Washington Examiner

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