WASHINGTON - Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) introduced a resolution Thursday concurring with President Trump’s February 2, 2019 notice to withdraw from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty.
“For years now, Russia has repeatedly and routinely violated their commitments under the INF treaty,” Sen. Lee said. “For arms control to work, all parties must be committed, lawful participants. Russian non-compliance has prevailed without consequence for far too long and the United States should not remain unilaterally bound to a one-sided agreement.”
“Our withdrawal from the INF Treaty sends a clear message that we will not stand idly by while Russia works to openly violate treaties and international norms,” resolution cosponsor Sen. Enzi (R-WY) said. “I applaud the Administration’s actions and am committed to working with our NATO allies to appropriately respond to Russia’s behavior.”
“I support the withdrawal of the United States from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty. Russia has designed, tested and deployed weapons in direct violation of the treaty,” resolution cosponsor Sen. Barrasso (R-WY) said. “Arms-control treaties are only effective when both parties abide by their terms in a transparent way. It is not in the United States’ interest to be the only country honoring this agreement.”
The Obama administration tried for years to raise the issue of INF non-compliance, but the Russians repeatedly refused to admit violating the treaty. After its own attempt to bring Russia back into compliance, the Trump administration announced on October 20, 2018 that the United States would withdraw from the INF treaty.
The INF Treaty’s withdrawal clause, found in Article XV of the agreement, requires six-month notice by the withdrawing party before withdrawal becomes official. This means the INF Treaty will end on August 2, 2019.
Even though the president has the Article II power to withdraw from the INF treaty on his own, Congress, per its role in treaty ratification, has an obligation to weigh in on the executive branch’s decision to withdraw the United States from a treaty.
Cosponsors: Sen. Cornyn (R-TX), Sen. Blackburn (R-TN), Sen. Braun (R-IN), Sen. Rubio (R-FL) Sen. Tillis (R-NC), Sen. Sullivan (R-AK), Sen. Graham (R-SC), Sen. Hyde-Smith (R-MS), Sen. Cramer (R-ND), Sen. Barrasso (R-WY), Sen. Johnson (R-WI), Sen. Blunt (R-MO), Sen. Cotton (R-AR), Sen. Wicker (R-MS), and Sen. Cruz (R-TX).