Three Virginia Congressmen Among 18 Votes Against Supporting Addition of Sweden, Finland to NATO

Virginia had the most representatives voting “nay” on Monday against a resolution supporting adding Sweden and Finland to NATO. The resolution passed with 394 votes in favor, just 18 votes against, all Republican, and 19 members not voting. Three of Virginia’s four Republican congressmen voted against the measure: Congressmen Morgan Griffith (R-VA-09), Bob Good (R-VA-05), and Ben Cline (R-VA-06), while Congressman Rob Wittman (R-VA-01) voted in favor.

In a press release, Griffith said that the Senate has the constitutional power to ratify adding the two countries to NATO, but not the House. He said that the resolution also calls for other NATO countries to support adding the two countries.

“I think that goes well beyond the House’s jurisdiction,” Griffith said.

“Decisions about the future of NATO need to be made carefully and with a full consideration of the facts. Discussion about what assets Finland and Sweden would bring to the alliance has been insufficient. Although Finland meets the threshold of spending two percent of its GDP on defense, Sweden does not. Too many current members of the alliance do not meet this benchmark even though it was agreed upon in 2014. President Trump was right to urge countries to spend more on defense, and we should fix this major challenge to the alliance’s standing before NATO takes on more obligations.”

Griffith said he’s not inherently opposed to adding the two countries but said the resolution was rushed.

According to the Government Offices of Sweden, that country’s application to join NATO came as a response to the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Ukraine has also sought to enter NATO, which has been opposed by Russian President Vladimir Putin, who has criticized NATO as “a relic of the Cold War intended to serve as an instrument of the U.S. foreign policy to keep its satellites in rein,” according to the AP.

Putin said he didn’t object to Finland and Sweden joining but issued a warning note about NATO deployments in those countries.

“[W]e will have to respond quid pro quo if military contingents and infrastructure are deployed there and create the same threats for the territories where they are created for us,” he said, according to the AP.

In April, Good and Cline voted against a resolution from Congressman Gerry Connolly (D-VA-11) to express support for NATO and establishing a Center for Democratic Resilience within the alliance. Griffith and Wittman voted in favor of that resolution.

In a statement to The Virginia Star, Good explained his vote against expressing support for adding Sweden and Finland to the alliance.

“Vladimir Putin is a tyrant who has unjustifiably invaded Ukraine and is ruthlessly destroying the country. This was a ‘no-confidence’ vote in the Biden Administration’s failed foreign policy, including the lack of a coherent strategy for the $56 billion of our tax dollars being spent in Ukraine,” Good said.

“It is a no-confidence vote in a Biden Administration which bowed to the radical left to undermine our energy independence and to instead empower Putin. We should also have no confidence in President Biden to convince our NATO allies to do what is necessary to keep Putin in check, including ensuring they contribute their promised two percent share of funding. We should be focused on keeping AMERICANS safer, and with President Biden in the White House, adding two countries to NATO is only likely to escalate tensions with Russia and increase the chances President Biden will eventually be deploying American troops.”

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Eric Burk is a reporter at The Virginia Star and The Star News Network.  Email tips to [email protected].
Photo “Bob Good (Middle)” by Bob Good. 


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