U.S. Senators Mike Enzi and John Barrasso, both R-Wyo., cosponsored a resolution, led by U.S. Senator Mike Lee, R-Utah, concurring with President Trump’s notice to withdraw from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty.
“Our withdrawal from the INF Treaty sends a clear message to Russia that we will not stand idly by while they work to openly violate treaties and international norms,” Enzi 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,” said Barrasso. “Russia has designed, tested and deployed weapons in direction violation of the treaty. 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 to violating the treaty. After its own attempt to bring Russia back into compliance, the Trump administration announced on Oct. 20, 2018 that the United States would withdraw from the INF Treaty and published the official notice on Feb. 2, 2019. The treaty’s withdrawal clause requires six-month notice, which means the INF Treaty will end on Aug. 2, 2019.
Although 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.