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Senate overwhelmingly votes to ratify NATO membership for Finland and Sweden

The Senate on Wednesday voted to admit Sweden and Finland into NATO.

With a vote of 95 to 1 — Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) voted no and Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) voted present — the Senate approved a resolution to ratify membership to the two countries. 

"Our NATO alliance is the bedrock that has guaranteed democracy in the western world since the end of World War II," Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said from the Senate floor. "This strengthens NATO even further and is particularly needed in light of recent Russian aggression." In May, Sweden and Finland both announced their intention to join NATO, in response to the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) also spoke, saying that welcoming Sweden and Finland to NATO "will only strengthen the most successful military alliance in human history." He added that if "any senator is looking for a defensible excuse to vote no, I wish them good luck. This is a slam dunk for national security that deserves bipartisan support."

A State Department spokesperson told CNN that the next step in the ratification process is for President Biden to sign an instrument of ratification of the treaty.