WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Jim Risch (R-Idaho), ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, today joined U.S. Senators Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on Europe and Regional Security Cooperation and co-chair of the Senate NATO Observer Group, and Thom Tillis (R-N.C.), Senate NATO Observer Group co-chair, and a bipartisan group of 79 senators in a letter to President Biden urging him to expedite the executive branch’s process to advance Sweden and Finland’s applications for NATO membership and pledging to work with the administration to ensure swift ratification of the Washington Treaty.
In the letter, the senators noted that NATO’s expansion will send a clear message to Putin and authoritarian leaders across the globe that the free world stands ready to bolster the alliance and defend our values and sovereignty, including through NATO’s open-door policy.
“As Russia’s unprovoked invasion of Ukraine has proven, NATO, along with our democratic partners around the world, is more united than ever in opposition to the illegal acts of war waged by President Putin. Expanding NATO to include Finland and Sweden will send a clear message to Vladimir Putin, and any leader that attempts to follow in his path, that the free world stands ready to defend its values and sovereignty. We will also continue to support NATO’s open-door policy, which affirms that new members are welcome to the alliance,” the senators wrote.
The senators also affirmed their support for Sweden and Finland’s applications as part of the Senate’s constitutional role to provide advice and consent for NATO enlargement. During this pivotal moment to our global security, they noted this expansion will further strengthen NATO’s military and diplomatic capabilities to address emerging threats, and mutual security assurances will extend to these two governments under the alliance.
“Members of the U.S. Senate take seriously our role in advising and consenting to NATO enlargement, a process that must be approved by all NATO member states. We affirm our support for Sweden and Finland’s applications for membership. In addition, we pledge to work closely with you and with our Senate colleagues to ensure that their applications are swiftly considered and approved by the Senate,” the senators concluded. “The transatlantic alliance has never been more crucial to global security and stability. The addition of these two important allies to NATO will ensure the alliance’s resilience and readiness, and we look forward to welcoming Sweden and Finland to NATO.”
The full list of senators on the letter include Senators Risch, Shaheen, Tillis, Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Cardin (D-Md.), Carper (D-Del.), Coons (D-Del.), Duckworth (D-Ill.), Durbin (D-Ill.), Hickenlooper (D-Colo.), King (I-Maine), Rosen (D-Nev.), Wyden (D-Ore.), Tester (D-Mont.), Hassan (D-N.H.), Kelly (D-Ariz.), Manchin (D-W.Va.), Portman (R-Ohio), Collins (R-Maine), Murkowski (R-Alaska), Cramer (R-N.D.), Graham (R-S.C.), Sasse (R-Neb.), McConnell (R-Ky.), Barrasso (R-Wyo.), Ernst (R-Iowa), Romney (R-Utah), Rounds (R-S.D.), Thune (R-S.D.), Grassley (R-Iowa), Hagerty (R-Tenn.), Toomey (R-Pa.), Hoeven (R-N.D.), Cornyn (R-Texas), Scott (R-S.C.), Kaine (D-Va.), Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Cortez Masto (D-Nev.), Sinema (D-Ariz.), Baldwin (D-Wis.), Feinstein (D-Calif.), Murphy (D-Conn.), Hirono (D-Hawaii), Booker (D-N.J.), Merkley (D-Ore.), Bennet (D-Colo.), Warnock (D-Ga.), Murray (D-Wash.), Leahy (D-Vt.), Brown (D-Ohio), Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Markey (D-Mass.), Lujan (D-N.M.), Cotton (R-Ark.), Burr (R-N.C.), Inhofe (R-Okla.), Schatz (D-Hawaii), Schumer (D-N.Y.), Van Hollen (D-Md.), Fischer (R-Neb.), Reed (D-R.I.), Heinrich (D-N.M.), Peters (D-Mich.), Whitehouse (D-R.I.), Padilla (D-Calif.), Menendez (D-N.J.), Warner (D-Va.), Ossoff (D-Ga.), Moore Capito (R-W.Va.), Young (R-Ind.), Wicker (R-Miss.), Hyde-Smith (R-Miss.), Stabenow (D-Mich.), Blackburn (R-Tenn.), Sullivan (R-Alaska), Smith (D-Minn.), Casey (D-Pa.), Blunt (R-Mo.), Marshall (R-Kan.), Daines (R-Mont.), Crapo (R-Idaho), and Warren (D-Mass.).
Final text of the letter is available here.