Washington, DC (JBANC) – Thirty-three members of the United States Congress have signed a letter to the House Appropriations Committee supporting $350 million in funding for the Baltic Security Initiative for the Fiscal Year 2025 defense appropriations bill. The bipartisan letter, sponsored by House Baltic Caucus co-chairs Don Bacon (R-NE) and Ruben Gallego (D-AZ) recognizes Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania for being “exemplary allies of the United States” and leading NATO defense spending as a percentage of gross domestic product. All three countries “have exceeded the NATO goal of two percent for years and have either achieved or committed to increasing defense spending to three percent in the near future.”

The letter points out the Baltic states’ steadfastness to their collective defense and their combined $23 billion defense investment since 2015, which “safeguards U.S. national security interests by accelerating completion of key defense improvements in the Baltic region.”  

The United States is an indispensable defense partner for the Baltic countries, with the Baltic Security Initiative being one of the main funding authorities that enhances the region’s defensive capabilities. Increased funding to $350 million for the Baltic Security Initiative would help speed the progress of defense capacity-building projects and create a strong deterrence to Russian aggression. The letter asserts that “the Baltic states estimate an additional $1.88 billion shortfall in completing these projects beyond the $34 billion they intend to spend on their own defense needs.” Further investment is necessary as the Baltic region is the only part of NATO without conventional military superiority.

The letter concludes by listing the capacity-building projects to be funded by the Baltic Security Initiative such as procurement of ammunition, integrated air and missile defense systems, land force long-range fire capabilities, and upgrades to maritime domain awareness.

The Joint Baltic American National Committee (JBANC) is grateful for the support of the 33 members of the U.S. House and appreciates the work of advocates during Baltic Advocacy Days held April 8-12 to help widen support for the Baltic Security Initiative. As a result, this year’s letter to the House Appropriations Committee received twice the number of supporters compared to last year. We will continue working with Congress to ensure maximum funding for the Baltic Security Initiative.

Members of Congress who signed the May 1 letter to House Defense Appropriations Subcommittee Chairman Ken Calvert (R-CA) and Ranking Member Betty McCollum (D-MN) were: Representatives Don Bacon (R-NE), Ruben Gallego (D-AZ), Brendan F. Boyle (D-PA), Julia Brownley (D-CA), Larry Bucshon (R-IN), Salud Carbajal (D-CA) André Carson (D-IN), Dan Crenshaw (R-TX), Jason Crow (D-CO), Lloyd Doggett (D-TX), Veronica Escobar (D-TX), Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA), John Garamendi (D-CA), Robert Garcia (D-CA), Jenniffer González-Colón (R-PR), Jahana Hayes (D-CT), James A. Himes (D-CT), Steven Horsford (D-NV), Chrissy Houlahan (D-PA) Jonathan L. Jackson (D-IL), John Joyce (R-PA). William R. Keating (D-MA). Blake D. Moore (R-UT), Seth Moulton (D-MA), Jimmy Panetta (D-CA), Chris Pappas (D-NH), Austin Scott (R-GA), Elissa Slotkin (D-MI), Christopher H. Smith (R-NJ), Haley M. Stevens (D-MI), Dina Titus (D-NV), Michael R. Turner (R-OH), Marc A. Veasey (D-TX).

Twenty of the 33 members belong to the House Baltic Caucus.


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