WASHINGTON – Today, members of the House and Senate came together for a Joint Session of the United States Congress to host the General Secretary of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), Jens Stoltenberg. NATO is celebrating its 70th anniversary and Congresswoman Cheri Bustos (IL-17) invited Steve Bahls, President of Augustana College, to join her for the speech.
“Since President Truman signed the North Atlantic Treaty, the NATO alliance has been a critical part of our national security strategy – and as we work to keep Americans safe and confront new challenges around the globe, it remains just as important today,” said Congresswoman Bustos, a member of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense. “We saw the alliance come together after the tragic attack on September 11, and we see it today as Illinois soldiers fight arm-in-arm with Polish forces in the Middle East. As NATO celebrates its 70th anniversary, this Joint Session of Congress shows that the United States is committed to working with our allies to keep the world safe – despite the irresponsible rhetoric coming from the White House.”
“Establishing NATO was a contribution of my parent’s generation, the Greatest Generation. I joined Representative Bustos to reaffirm my support for international cooperation and to challenge our students to think about how their generation will take international cooperation to a higher level,” said Steven C. Bahls, President of Augustana College. “I firmly believe this generation of young people will be the next Greatest Generation. I appreciate Representative Bustos’ commitment to supporting organizations like NATO that keep democracy safe.”
NATO was formed in 1949 with the signing of the North Atlantic Treaty, also known as the Washington Treaty. Today, it consists of 29-member countries from North America and Europe. Article Five of the treaty – which states that an attack against one is an attack against all – is at the core of our alliance and was invoked after the attack against the United States on September 11, 2001. In response to President Trump’s continued threats to abandon our international allies and withdraw from NATO, a bipartisan majority in the U.S. House of Representatives overwhelmingly passed the NATO Support Act by a vote of 357-22. This bill barred the U.S. from withdrawing from NATO.
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