A day after the U.S. House voted overwhelmingly for a measure aimed at making it difficult for a president to quit NATO, U.S. Sen. Susan Collins declared her support for the proposal.

Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, speaks to reporters as she arrives at the Capitol building in Washington, on Jan. 9, 2019. (AP File Photo/Andrew Harnik)

Collins, a Maine Republican, is part of a bipartisan group that introduced a resolution this month to prohibit a president from withdrawing from NATO without first securing approval from the Senate.

“Over the past seven decades, NATO has proven to be the world’s most successful military alliance and a major force for peace, stability, and prosperity.  It is critical that we reaffirm the United States’ commitment to this vital pillar of our national security,” Collins said Wednesday in a prepared statement.

Collins told her colleagues that supporting the measure “would be a strong statement of support for this important alliance that serves the strategic interests of the United States.”

Both of Maine’s U.S. House members — Democrats Chellie Pingree and Jared Golden — were among the 357 lawmakers who supported a proposal Tuesday to bar the use of federal funds by a president to withdraw from the treaty that has locked the U.S. to Canada and European allies since 1949 in common defense.

The Senate resolution requires the president to win two-thirds support from the Senate to suspend, terminate or withdraw from NATO. It also prohibits funding any effort to do so and grants congressional counsel permission to challenge a president in court if he tries to sidestep the provision.


U.S. Sen. Tim Kaine, a Virginia Democrat, said in a prepared statement that Trump’s “repeated threats to withdraw from NATO are dangerous.”

“Our NATO allies have fought alongside our troops since World War II, yet President Trump disparages these nations and cozies up to our adversaries,” he said. “At a time of increased Russian aggression and global threats, our alliance with NATO is more important than ever to ensure the safety of the American people.”

Collins and Kaine were joined by Republicans Cory Gardner of Colorado, Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and Marco Rubio of Florida along with Democrats Jack Reed of Rhode Island, Chris Coons of Delaware and Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut.

The New York Times reported recently that senior administration officials said that several times over the course of 2018, Mr. Trump privately said he wanted to withdraw from the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.”

In public, the president has griped on a number of occasions that European nations are failing to spend what he considers their fair share of the cost of the mutual defense required by the NATO treaty.

A bill with the same provisions was introduced last year after a July summit that included Trump and other NATO leaders let to fears the president might try to quit the organization. It was championed by Kaine and the late U.S. Sen. John McCain, an Arizona Republican.

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