Iowa Senator Joni Ernst says she “enthusiastically” supports expanding the North American Treaty Organization.
“The accession of Finland and Sweden to NATO is a great success, but regarding the war raging in Ukraine today…the U.S. cannot grow weary,” Ernst said Tuesday during a speech on the Senate floor. “Our resolve to support our partner must carry on.”
Ernst argued that protecting American security and prosperity requires partners like Finland and Sweden who can meet NATO’s military obligations.
“Our commander-in-chief, our diplomatic and military leadership and members of the Senate must hold our partners accountable to their own defense,” Ernst said, “and not lean on the reach and lethality of our soldiers sailors, airmen, marines and guardians alone.”
In 2006, NATO member states agreed to annually spend 2% of their Gross Domestic Product on defense. Ernst, echoing former President Donald Trump’s complaints about NATO in 2018, said some longstanding members of NATO are not meeting that obligation.
“I’m confident that Finland and Sweden are ready to stand up and help shoulder the resource burden of NATO’s military obligations in Europe,” Ernst said, “particularly following Russia’s bloody, lawless invasion of Ukraine.”
Ernst, a Republican, was in the bipartisan U.S. delegation that attended last month’s NATO summit in Madrid, Spain. It’s possible the U.S. Senate will ratify NATO’s expansion this month. More than 80 senators signaled weeks ago that they’d vote to approve Finland and Sweden’s membership in the alliance.