On April 5, the US House took up a vote on House Resolution (HR) 831 to call upon the US government to “uphold the founding democratic principles of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and establish a Center for Democratic Resilience within the headquarters of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).”
The bipartisan-supported legislation, introduced in the House of Representatives by Rep. Gerry Connolly (VA-11) and Ohio Republican Rep. Mike Turner, passed 362-63. Not only was it a resolution in support of NATO, but for democracy as a whole. All 63 of the no votes were from Republicans, including Virginia Reps. Bob Good (VA-05) and Ben Cline (VA-06).
Other notable no votes included Colorado Rep. Lauren Boebert, Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz, Arizona Rep. Paul Gosar, Georgia Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, North Carolina Rep. Madison Cawthorne, and Texas Rep. Louie Gohmert. All eight of the aforementioned representatives have ties to the Jan. 6, 2021 insurrection that took place at the US Capitol.
HR 831 also stated that the US House “reaffirms its unequivocal support for NATO,” and “calls on the President to use the voice and vote of the United States to adopt a new Strategic Concept for NATO that is clear about its support for shared democratic values and committed to enhancing NATO’s capacity to strengthen democratic institutions within NATO member, partner, and aspirant countries.”
In a press release, Rep. Connolly said “Our commitment to shared democratic values is what distinguishes NATO from other military alliances. Without it, NATO is just another military block that does not like Russia. But this commitment cannot remain purely aspirational or rhetorical. It must be operationalized.”
“I condemn the Russian invasion of Ukraine and pray for the Ukrainian people. Strongmen and tyrants on the world stage will always try to exploit perceived weakness,” Rep. Good told NBC 29, a local television station in his district, back in February.
Despite that, during the first week of February, he, along with Reps. Gaetz and Gosar, were co-sponsors of HR 6648: the Secure America’s Borders First Act. The HR was designed to refuse security support for Ukraine, even before the Russian invasion took place. The legislation, which was introduced to House and referred to the Committee on Foreign Affairs, as well as the Committee on Armed Services, would “prohibit the obligation or expenditure of military or security assistance to Ukraine until operational control of the United States-Mexico border is achieved.”
The fact that Rep. Cline voted against the resolution, despite expressing support for Ukraine at the start of the invasion, came as a shock to some people. After the Russian invasion, Cline was one of two Virginia Republicans who signed onto a letter urging President Biden to not send US troops to Ukraine or to declare war before getting Congressional authorization. The other representative who signed onto that declaration was Morgan Griffith (VA-09).
Rep. Griffith voted in support of HR 831, along with GOP Rep. Rob Wittman. All of Virginia’s Democratic representatives voted in support of HR 831.