The U.S. Senate voted on Wednesday to ratify Sweden and Finland's membership to the NATO military alliance.
The legislative body voted overwhelmingly to approve a treaty to expand NATO to include the two countries, with bipartisan support for the significant and historic expansion of the pact not seen in decades.
The overwhelming bipartisan support was on display on the Senate floor Wednesday and quickly expanded the alliance of Western military powers responding to Russia's invasion of Ukraine.
As the New York Times reported, ambassadors from Finland and Sweden were in the Senate gallery watching U.S. senators as they voted 95-1 with only Republican Sen. Josh Hawley of Missouri voting no.
Republican Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky voted present. Still, the vote tally rose above the necessary two-thirds needed in the Senate to approve the treaty.
Watch the floor debate and vote here:
Senate leader Mitch McConnell visited Kyiv and other parts of the region earlier in 2022, pushing for more approval and support for Ukraine. McConnell called the addition of the two nations to NATO a “slam-dunk for national security,” PBS reported.
McConnell said, “Their accession will make NATO stronger and America more secure. If any senator is looking for a defensible excuse to vote no, I wish them good luck.”
Republican Sen. Josh Hawley's vote against the addition of Finland and Sweden comes after having previously argued that the U.S. needs to focus on Asia and not Europe.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said, “Our NATO alliance is the bedrock that has guaranteed democracy in the Western world since the end of World War II.”