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house Bill H. Res. 135

Do NATO Member Countries Need to Meet Their Defense Spending Commitments?

Argument in favor

It’s unacceptable that the vast majority of NATO members aren’t meeting spending as much on defense as they’d committed to when they joined. Congress should do what it can to encourage them to fulfill their obligations.

Loraki's Opinion
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05/26/2017
YES, absolutely! The rest of the world seems to regard the United States as a country of unlimited wealth, and it isn't. We have been paying more than our fair share to NATO, the U.N., and probably other organizations for decades. And we are the country that also pays in AMERICAN BLOOD, when one of our allies needs our help! You can't PUT a price tag on THAT! I'm proud of all the good my country has done in the world (with the immeasurable help of God Almighty!). Nevertheless, we are at a point where we cannot carry as much of the load as we used to, thanks to the profligate spending by our federal government ("Uncle Sam")! The United States needs to "tighten its belt," largely by divesting itself of the powers (and associated agencies) that it has usurped from the states, and quit acting like Daddy Warbucks to the rest of the world and the DemoCommies here at home! It doesn't mean that we shouldn't continue to help our allies when they need us. But it DOES mean that they, too, must bear their fair share of the cost of freedom, be it in dollars or in blood, or both!
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David's Opinion
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05/26/2017
Yes to the extent they can. Also, we should have publicly reaffirmed article 5 as a cornerstone of our security. The members of NATO came to our aid on 9/11. The behavior of our administration is embarrassing and shameful.
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05/26/2017
Ummmm yes...if you agree to the terms of a treaty to promote and encourage world peace through strength you should probably meet those obligations.
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Argument opposed

There may be a chance that the governments of NATO member countries that haven’t spent what they’d committed to on defense will listen to Congress and change their ways, but it’s more likely that they won’t.

LiaP's Opinion
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05/26/2017
This is a deceptive bill for a number of reasons. It presents an overly simplistic picture. The member nations have until 2024 to reach the 2% goal. So it's wrong to condemn those who haven't yet met it. And there are nations in eastern Europe that will never be able to meet that obligation. That doesn't mean, however, that they shouldn't be in NATO. In fact, those are the very countries that, strategically, are crucial to have within the NATO fold. Otherwise, they would be even more vulnerable to Russian interference and intimidation.
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Lainie's Opinion
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05/26/2017
The President has already proved he doesn't understand what has already been agreed to by the members of NATO. This is foolishness
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Teresa's Opinion
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05/26/2017
This is untrue. They have until 2024 to pay and we are not the only country that has a say in this. Where has diplomacy gone? Our president shoving another leader out of the way just to be in front to have his picture taken, it was disgusting. We owe them our most sincere apologies and hope they still consider us an ally.
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simple resolution Progress


  • The house has not voted
      house Committees
      Committee on Foreign Affairs
    IntroducedFebruary 16th, 2017

What is House Bill H. Res. 135?

This resolution would call on other North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) member countries to meet or exceed their defense spending obligations that they committed to when joining the alliance. Members of NATO are required to spend at least two percent of their country’s gross domestic product (GDP) on defense, and 20 percent of their defense spending must go toward major equipment. In 2016, only five countries are expected to meet the requirement to spend two percent of GDP on defense: the U.S., Greece, Great Britain, Estonia, and Poland.

The NATO alliance was formed in 1949 by 12 North American and European nations to provide for a unified defense if one member came under armed attack from an enemy, which was expected to be the Soviet Union and its Warsaw Pact allies during the Cold War. Article 5 of the NATO charter is sometimes known as “The Three Musketeers Clause” because an attack on one member country is considered an attack on all, thus requiring the alliance to come to the country’s defense.

NATO isn’t only a military alliance though, as it also promotes democratic values through political means. Since its founding, another 16 countries have joined NATO and several others are considering joining — including some of the 22 Partnership for Peace partner nations.

As a simple resolution, this legislation would neither have the force of law nor advance to the Senate if passed.

Impact

NATO member countries; and Congress.

Cost of House Bill H. Res. 135

A CBO cost estimate is unavailable.

More Information

In-Depth: Sponsoring Rep. Mike Bishop (R-MI) introduced this bill to encourage NATO countries to spend what they had committed on defense, which would strengthen the alliance collectively:

“I believe it is time for the powers dedicated to the peace and prosperity of all nations to renew their commitment to the NATO Alliance. To be completely effective — and to equally share the necessary burden of 'peace through strength' — all NATO member nations must meet their GDP commitments for defense spending and research.
While the costs may seem significant and burdensome in difficult economic times, the consequences of conflict due to perceived weakness on the part of NATO would be far greater. Without modern equipment, resources, manpower and training necessary to maintain a deterrent force, we risk continued challenges to peace. I call on my colleagues in Congress to support this reasonable resolution, and on our NATO members to honor their commitment as well.”

Currently, this legislation has the support of 24 bipartisan cosponsors in the House — including 20 Republicans and four Democrats.


Of Note: According to the Economist, between the end of the Cold War and 2012, defense spending from European countries dropped from 34 percent of all NATO military expenditures to 21 percent. Due to Russian aggression in the Crimea, Ukraine, and elsewhere several European NATO members are contemplating increasing their defense spending.

Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump made headlines on July 21, 2016 when the New York Times released the transcript of an interview in which Trump implied that NATO members must meet their defense spending obligations for the U.S. to defend that country from attack. That prompted concerned responses from the NATO Secretary General and the president of Estonia.


Media:

Summary by Eric Revell

(Photo Credit: Flickr user U.S. Army Europe)

Official Title

Urging North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) member countries to meet or exceed the two percent gross domestic product commitment to spending on defense.

    YES, absolutely! The rest of the world seems to regard the United States as a country of unlimited wealth, and it isn't. We have been paying more than our fair share to NATO, the U.N., and probably other organizations for decades. And we are the country that also pays in AMERICAN BLOOD, when one of our allies needs our help! You can't PUT a price tag on THAT! I'm proud of all the good my country has done in the world (with the immeasurable help of God Almighty!). Nevertheless, we are at a point where we cannot carry as much of the load as we used to, thanks to the profligate spending by our federal government ("Uncle Sam")! The United States needs to "tighten its belt," largely by divesting itself of the powers (and associated agencies) that it has usurped from the states, and quit acting like Daddy Warbucks to the rest of the world and the DemoCommies here at home! It doesn't mean that we shouldn't continue to help our allies when they need us. But it DOES mean that they, too, must bear their fair share of the cost of freedom, be it in dollars or in blood, or both!
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    This is a deceptive bill for a number of reasons. It presents an overly simplistic picture. The member nations have until 2024 to reach the 2% goal. So it's wrong to condemn those who haven't yet met it. And there are nations in eastern Europe that will never be able to meet that obligation. That doesn't mean, however, that they shouldn't be in NATO. In fact, those are the very countries that, strategically, are crucial to have within the NATO fold. Otherwise, they would be even more vulnerable to Russian interference and intimidation.
    Like (314)
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    The President has already proved he doesn't understand what has already been agreed to by the members of NATO. This is foolishness
    Like (136)
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    This is untrue. They have until 2024 to pay and we are not the only country that has a say in this. Where has diplomacy gone? Our president shoving another leader out of the way just to be in front to have his picture taken, it was disgusting. We owe them our most sincere apologies and hope they still consider us an ally.
    Like (71)
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    Just because we meet requirements with NATO doesn't mean we should bully others to do the same. We should lead by example and encourage others to do the best they can. Browbeating has never and will never work to make people do what we want them to do.
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    The President is making a mockery of a once great nation.
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    The only reason this is an "issue" is because the president is a moron who doesn't in know and refuses to understand things, and the GOP is too spineless to refute him.
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    This amounts to extortion or basic mafia protection. Allies are allies regardless of the dollar cost. This administration seems hellbent on destabilizing the world, starting with our closest and longest alliances.
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    Yes to the extent they can. Also, we should have publicly reaffirmed article 5 as a cornerstone of our security. The members of NATO came to our aid on 9/11. The behavior of our administration is embarrassing and shameful.
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    There is an agreement in place. Perhaps Trump should educate himself about NATO before embarrassing the U.S.
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    Is it 2024 already? Deceptive bill.
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    It's time for other countries to start stepping up.
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    Ummmm yes...if you agree to the terms of a treaty to promote and encourage world peace through strength you should probably meet those obligations.
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    Making it a blanket "Defense Spending" requirement to be in NATO seems like a mistake to me. There should be definite contractual agreement of some kind, but just to say that you have to spend 2% of GDP to be a member of the club, may limit strategic partners that are most likely to be enveloped by Russia or become breeding grounds for terrorists. This should be a diplomatic negotiation, not signing up for a cell phone plan.
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    No, it needs to demand Donnie stop acting like a douchebag. Shoving the head of a foreign government just to be in front of a crowd for a picture and looking furious anyone would dare stand in front of him? Who does this and claims any moral validity? Complaining about German cars being sold in the US when those cars are MADE in the US? Who does this and claims any level of intelligence worthy of having access to the nuclear football? Berating the nations which came to this country's aid in the aftermath of the 2001 terror attacks by invoking Article V of the NATO treaty for the ONLY time in that treaty's history and weakening our shared defense as a result of that berating? Who does this and claims to be fulfilling his oath of office? Congress needs to tell him to act and BE presidential or it will remove from power and then swiftly follow through on that promise.
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    Agree with others, especially Ticktock. The EU and U.K. live in the shadow of Russia. Trump has no business scolding NATO who has done great things for many years while he was draft dodging during the 70's. He debased what could have been a wonderful moment with his ridiculous scolding. Disgusting. He snubbed Angela Merkel a woman who united a country with grace and wisdom. Then during a luncheon meeting, he monopolized her, pawing her each time she attempted to speak to the individual on her other side. He displays no grace, no dignity and seems to feel that he who bullies is the king of the world.
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    Can we please put this non-issue to rest?
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    This is like a bank calling in a loan 7 years early... He (t) is just trying to look tough but it comes across as bullying... And I wish he wouldn't invoke "the American people"... He doesn't speak for me... We need to strengthen alliances, not insult them.
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    If all of the countries of NATO signed the treaty and the agreements then they should follow the rules of the treaty/agreements It's as simple as that! If they do not live up to the agreement and play their role in NATO then they should not even be a part of NATO.
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    Let's get real here. Thanks to NATO, our sphere of influence is formidable contributing to our country's health, wealth and democratic wellbeing, as well as that of its members - all without those members who are behind on their 2% of GNP. Should we encourage them to pay up? Of course. And there are more productive ways of doing so than this ridiculous piece of legislation. To paraphrase Ticktock: Take a look at the US! The home of the brave? Land of the free? Europe is closer to all the military threats that we supposedly prepare to meet. We have the Atlantic on the East Coast and the Pacific on the West Coast. We have Mexico and South America to the south, people who we would do well to make friends with and Canada to the north who we should try to emulate. President Trump snubs Chancellor Merkel who knows more about the effects of living in the shadow of the Soviet Union and later Russia. She knows first hand the danger Russia presents and leads one of the most successful countries both socially and economically in Europe. To sit across a vast ocean and criticize the balance Germany has developed is foolish. They have taken in immigrants fleeing wars over the last several years and are in the process of incorporating them into their society, may be we should gift them with the Statue of Liberty. We should take note of their struggle and get our collective stuck up nose out of the air as though we are far more superior and take them as an example. They are by far more of what we should be, but instead it seems as though President Trump is an agent of the Russian Government. President Trump has done more damage than the Russians have been able to do to NATO since it's inception. Keep sitting on the sidelines Republican Congress you'll be part of the Duma yet.
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