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Congressman Panetta Introduces NATO Support Act

January 17, 2019
Press Release

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Congressman Jimmy Panetta (D-CA) introduced the bipartisan NATO Support Act.  The legislation reiterates strong Congressional support for the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), the longest-standing and most successful military alliance in the world.

The NATO Support Act rejects any efforts by the President to withdraw from the alliance.  Moreover, the measure supports NATO member efforts to spend at least two percent of their gross domestic product on defense and promotes robust funding for the European Deterrence Initiative to counter Russian aggression.

"The NATO alliance is a pillar of international peace, stability, and security, and serves as a deterrent against aggression and destabilization," said Congressman Panetta.  "We must promote our shared values of freedom, equality, and empowerment by continuing to invest in the institutions, programs, and people that enhance our national security."

The bill is cosponsored by Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Eliot Engel (D-NY), Representatives Tom Malinowski (D-NJ), Don Bacon (R-NE), Seth Moulton (D-MA), Will Hurd (R-TX), Abigail Spanberger (D-VA), Fred Upton (R-MI), Chrissy Houlahan (D-PA), Adam Kinzinger (R-IL), and Mike Gallagher (R-WI).

"NATO plays a critical role in ensuring international security, peace, and stability," said Chairman Engel.  "If we turn away from our European allies, as President Trump seems intent on doing, we are undermining our own national security interests.  This bill demonstrates that Congress will stand against any Administration attempts to diminish the NATO alliance." 

"No institution in modern history has done more to prevent war and protect America than NATO. The United States created NATO, and the mere suggestion that the United States would leave it is a grossly irresponsible gift to our enemies.  With this legislation, Congress is saying to our allies, on behalf of the vast majority of Americans, that this will not happen." said Representative Malinowski.

"America’s alliances are a source of strength and security for our country.  As a student of history I can say that our defense alliances have preserved peace and enhanced economic prosperity since the end of the Second World War, and as a career military officer and former base commander in Europe, I can confidently say that they remain critical to U.S. military operations today," said Representative Bacon.  "Among our defense treaties, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization stands alone as the most successful military alliance in history.  On the 70th anniversary of this historic treaty, it is right for Congress to express its support for the NATO Alliance, and to make clear to our allies and adversaries alike that the American people are absolutely committed to staying in NATO."

"NATO has contributed to the peace and prosperity of North America and Europe for 70 years.  These partners, not Russia, are our true friends," said Representative Hurd.  "Just as NATO has stood with us time and time again, we must always stand with them.  The only way we can overcome shared challenges like combatting terrorism and Russian aggression is by working together and continuing the strong transatlantic bond that unites our nations."

"To keep our communities protected during uncertain times, we must reaffirm the importance of our country’s security relationships with our key allies—including fellow NATO member states.  I’m proud to help introduce this bipartisan resolution, which would signal Congress’ unwavering support for the mission of NATO," said Representative Spanberger.  "There is no question that the NATO alliance has strengthened our national security for decades.  I’m committed to maintaining U.S. leadership in this successful international partnership, and I’ll keep working to reiterate our commitment to international cooperation and mutual security."

"The North Atlantic Treaty Organization is a military alliance that has helped the security of the United States and some of our closest allies for 70 years.  Withdrawing from NATO would be a dangerous step that would undo decades of U.S. diplomacy and I am proud to co-sponsor the NATO Support Act in the interests of national security," said Representative Houlahan.

"Protecting the democracies of NATO, like protecting our own elections, is extremely essential to our national security and our global standing around the world.  The NATO Support Act reaffirms our mission and commitment to this valuable partnership, and helps the U.S. and our allies push back against Russian aggression and provocations," said Representative Kinzinger.

Congressman Panetta is a veteran of the U.S. Navy, and served in Afghanistan as an intelligence officer with a Joint Special Operations Task Force.  During his tour of duty, he worked with partner nations, and developed a deep understanding of the multilateral importance of partnering with NATO allies combatting hostilities overseas.