July 7, 2023

Ricketts Joins Group of 35 Senators Urging Biden to Ensure NATO Countries Meet Defense Spending Commitments

July 7, 2023

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Pete Ricketts (R-NE), Ranking Member of the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on Europe and Regional Security Cooperation, joined Senator Dan Sullivan R-AK) and 33 other Senate colleagues to urge President Biden ensure North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) countries meet their defense spending commitments.

“A strong and effective NATO is more critical to global stability than ever before,” Ricketts said. “Our adversaries are intent on displacing America’s leadership in the world. They’re attempting to disrupt the rules-based system that we set up, which has kept the peace for nearly 80 years. Our NATO allies must step up to meet their 2% GDP commitments for defense spending.”

Ricketts will be attending the annual NATO summit in Vilnius next week as part of an official Congressional Delegation. Since 2014, NATO member nations have agreed to commit a minimum of 2 percent of their Gross Domestic Product (GDP) to defense spending. The letter notes that despite increasing levels of aggressive behavior by authoritarian nations, particularly Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, many member states continue to fail to meet their treaty obligations.

“As you prepare for the NATO summit this year in Vilnius, we write to underscore the critical need for NATO members to increase and fully meet defense spending commitments to the alliance,” the Senators write. “Failure of many of our allies – including some of NATO’s largest members – to meet commitments of 2% of GDP on defense has the potential to undermine American support for the alliance, severely limits Europe’s ability to contribute to our shared interest in defending against Russia, and is a source of long-term instability in Europe, not to mention frustration for American taxpayers…

“Although we appreciate the assistance that many of our European allies have provided Ukraine, the heavy European emphasis on economic and refugee assistance is directly attributable to the inability of many to meet their NATO commitments in a way the alliance demands. This has immediate implications in Ukraine where our allies could be a force multiplier in helping bring this conflict to a successful end…

“The lack of sufficient progress is politically and economically unsustainable. American citizens rightly question why our government disproportionately bears the burden – decade after decade – for Europe’s defense. In Vilnius, we respectfully request that you make this issue a top priority…”

Read the full letter here.


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