Majority Leader Schumer Floor Remarks On Senate Approval Of Finland And Sweden As Members Of NATO

August 3, 2022

Washington, D.C.   Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) today spoke on the Senate floor ahead of the Senate approving Finland and Sweden as members of NATO. Below are Senator Schumer’s remarks:

Since its creation over seventy years ago, no alliance in human history has done more to advance the cause of freedom and democracy than NATO.

Today – at a moment when democracy in Europe is under attack, as belligerent autocrats like Putin clamor for European dominance – the U.S. Senate is voting in overwhelming bipartisan fashion to approve Finland and Sweden’s accession to the NATO alliance. This is important substantively and as a signal to Russia: they cannot intimidate America or Europe.

Putin has tried to use his war in Ukraine to divide the west; instead today’s vote shows our alliance is stronger than ever.

I applaud the leaders of Sweden and Finland who made a bold choice to depart from their long held position with respect to NATO.  I’m confident they’ll be excellent partners in this alliance.

I thank Leader McConnell: back in May we met with the Finnish President and Swedish prime minister and promised to approve their accession as quickly as possible—and today we are keeping that promise.

I also want to thank my colleagues from both sides of the aisle for springing into action in this matter, especially Senator Menendez, the Chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, who did such a good job with his Ranking Member, Senator Risch; as well as Senators Shaheen and Tillis, who have been our leaders in reaching out to NATO, for their leadership roles. Senators Menendez and Risch ensured their committee acted quickly.

In the past few months we have seen an amazing string of bipartisan achievements in this chamber, achievements rarely seen in such fast succession: we passed the first gun safety bill in 30 years, approved the largest investment in U.S. science and technology in generations, gave veterans the largest expansion of benefits in decades, and today we’re strengthening the NATO alliance.

And all of this– every bit of this – was done on a bipartisan basis. I’ve always said this Senate Democratic majority would be willing to work with the other side whenever possible, and these past months have been some of those moments.

Finally, to the Swedish and Finnish diplomats who have worked for months to reach this moment, rest assured you have many friends in this chamber. We promised to get this done and we will always stand by your side as allies defending each other.

I thank my colleagues for their work and ask for the yeas and nays. 

###