Attempts by Republicans to impose immediate sanctions on North Stream 2 failed, and Senator Ted Cruz’s bill did not receive the required votes.
The White House has taken a step towards the federal government in the controversy over the German-Russian North Stream 2 gas pipeline. On Thursday, the U.S. government, along with Democratic senators in Congress, blocked Republican legislation aimed at forcing immediate sanctions on the pipeline. Robert Menendez, Democrat leader of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, drafted a substantially weaker alternative law. It forces the White House to consider punitive measures against the pipeline if Russia invades Ukraine.
The U.S. government under President Joe Biden is strongly opposed to the North Stream 2 Baltic Sea Pipeline Movement. Washington believes that as a dangerous geo-strategic project of Moscow, it could supply gas to the western part of Ukraine, thus exerting political influence against Kiev and Europe. But at the same time, Biden considers relations with Germany to be very valuable and does not want to take punitive action against companies involved in the pipeline and damage them – especially not during the current negotiations with Moscow aimed at preventing Russia. From attacking Ukraine. Biden has so far blocked sanctions against the pipeline.
Republicans are not ready to consider Berlin. Within 15 days, Texas Senator Ted Cruz introduced legislation that would force the president to impose sanctions on all companies involved in the German-Russian pipeline. But the plan failed on Thursday and did not get the votes needed for the legislative process.
The White House feared that Cruz’s tough sanctions law could win a majority of their votes, as many Democratic senators were alarmed by the Russian march on the Ukrainian border and threats from Moscow. Although Biden officials urged Congress against the law, there were still a large number of dissidents in the Democratic Party. If Cruz’s law had been passed, it would not only have severely damaged Washington’s relations with the new federal government, but it would have been an embarrassing defeat for Fiden.
To provide an alternative to potential opposition among Democrats, Senator Menendez wrote a separate law with the support of the White House – a successful move: only five Democrats voted in favor of Cruz’s bill on Thursday. This is not enough to say goodbye to her.
Menendez’s law provides that the U.S. government must “consider” all measures necessary to prevent Nord Stream 2 from going online in the event of a Russian invasion of Ukraine. It also includes severe punitive measures against Russia in the event of an invasion. These are aimed at meeting the Russian leadership in Moscow – including President Vladimir Putin – and the Russian finance ministry.
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