President Donald Trump says NATO’s member countries have agreed to significantly heighten their military spending. Trump has complained that the U.S. pays a disproportionate amount of funding for NATO and has called many times on alliance members to boost their defense budgets. West-central Missouri Republican Congresswoman Vicky Hartzler tells Missourinet the U.S. spends 3.6% on defense efforts while most of the other nations struggle to meet their commitment.

Congresswoman Vicky Hartzler

“Several years ago, they (other countries) agreed to build up their own individual military spending 2% of their GDP on their own defense,” Hartzler says. “Only a few nations have met that goal. Many of them have been dragging their feet.”

At last week’s NATO summit, Trump reportedly suggested NATO countries should raise their goal from 2% to 4% or the U.S. could withdraw from the 29-member alliance.

Hartzler says keeping the NATO alliance strong is important, but the member countries must do their part.

“They have a vested interest in this, as they are the closest countries in proximity to Russia,” she says. “They have the greatest amount to lose. It’s time for them to step up. With the threats facing us and with what Russia did with Ukraine, I think it behooves them to shore up their own national defense and to invest more in building up their capabilities.”

French President Emmanuel Macron rejects Trump’s claim that NATO countries have pledged to strongly increase their spending. He points to a communique that recommits members to pay 2% of their national GDP by 2024.

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