The ‘Freedom Caucus’ Overwhelmingly Votes Against House Bill Supporting NATO

Michael McFaul is a professor of political science who served as the U.S. Ambassador to Russia.

Twenty-two Republican lawmakers voted against a measure supporting the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.

As reported in The Hill, on Tuesday, the House passed legislation which supports the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). The bill was passed in a 357-22 vote and it includes a provision that rejects Trump’s efforts to withdraw from the treaty.

Trump has repeatedly suggested pulling out of NATO throughout the past year, according to administration aides. Critics of this move fear that a NATO without the U.S. would both "embolden Russia and threaten strategic international military alliances."

The measure, spearheaded by Rep. Jimmy Panetta (D-Calif.), would prohibit any funds from being used to withdraw from NATO. It also asks NATO members to adhere to their commitment of giving at least 2% of their own GDP for defense spending.

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) said,“This bill makes it clear the United States Congress still believes in the NATO mission and will prevent any short-sighted efforts to undermine the NATO or unilaterally withdrawal our country.”

Panetta added that it was important for the U.S. to remain in NATO in order to help deter Russian aggression.

The legislation was cosponsored by House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Eliot Engel (D-NY), along with Reps. Tom Malinowski (D-NJ), Don Bacon (R-Neb.), Seth Moulton (D-Mass.), Will Hurd (R-Texas), ABigail Spanberger (D-Va.), Fred Upton (R-Mich.), Chrissy Houlahan (D-Pa.), Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill), and Mike Gallagher (R-Wis.).

The 22 “no” votes were from conservative Republicans, or the Freedom caucus. These voters were Jim Jordan, Louie Gohmert, Matt Gaetz, Mark Meadows, Scott DesJarlais, Justin Amash, Thomas Massie, Paul Gosar, Andy Biggs, Ben Cline,, Russ Fulcher, Morgan Griffith, Andy Harris, Jody Hice, Tom McClintock (former member),Scott Perry, Chip Roy, Greg Steube and Randy Weber.

The Senate is also taking steps to stay in NATO. A bipartisan group in the Senate has reintroduced legislation which would prevent the president from withdrawing from the alliance without the upper chamber’s approval.