Spanberger Statement Following NATO Secretary-General’s Address to Congress

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Representative Abigail Spanberger today released the following statement after North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg addressed a joint meeting of Congress.

“As we mark the 70th anniversary of NATO, we must reaffirm our country’s dedication to NATO’s shared mission of mutual security and peace. The NATO alliance is in our own national security interest—and one of the greatest threats to NATO’s long-term future is the absence of principled American leadership,” said Spanberger. “Today, Secretary-General Stoltenberg showcased an unwavering commitment to an enduring transatlantic partnership, which has persisted despite formidable challenges throughout the past decades and will, despite recent rhetoric directed against the alliance. As we watch Russia’s destabilizing behavior in Eastern Europe, we must redouble our efforts to promote international cooperation and democracy. I agree with the administration that the issues of defense, intelligence, and diplomatic burden-sharing should be further discussed, but I’ll continue to speak out against any efforts to withdraw the United States from the alliance or to limit our military, economic, and diplomatic leverage.”

Spanberger is a cosponsor of the NATO Support Act, which passed overwhelmingly in the U.S. House in January. The bipartisan legislation would reject any efforts by the administration to withdraw from the NATO alliance, which is the longest-standing military alliance in the world. The measure would also support NATO member efforts to spend at least two percent of their gross domestic product on defense—and to counter Russian aggression, the bill would promote robust funding for the European Deterrence Initiative.

During a hearing last month, Spanberger called on Congress to recognize the security contributions of NATO and to reaffirm the alliance’s indispensable role in promoting U.S. national security, economic strength, and successful diplomatic engagement efforts. NATO marks its 70th anniversary next month.

NATO is a transatlantic alliance of 29 member countries that aims to guarantee the security and freedom of its members. Since its inception, NATO has been committed to the principle that an attack against one or several of its members is considered as an attack against all. This principle is outlined in Article 5 of the Washington Treaty. So far, Article 5 has been invoked once—in response to the September 11 terrorist attacks in 2001.

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