Senate Democrats Block Ted Cruz’s Nord Stream 2 Sanctions Bill

Senator Ted Cruz’s Nord Stream 2 bill, which would have imposed severe sanctions on the company behind a pipeline that allowed Russia to ship natural gas to Germany, was recently defeated by Senate Democrats.

The legislation, which Biden’s admin opposes, received a final vote of 55-44 on Thursday. Democrats such as Tammy Baldwin, Catherine Cortez Masto, Jacky Rosen, Maggie Hassan, Mark Kelly and Raphael Warnock threw in their support for the bill. Unfortunately, it didn’t reach the required 60 votes needed for it to pass.

According to Axios, Sen. Rand Paul was the only Republican who voted in opposition to the bill.

Russian President Vladimir Putin favors the Nord Stream 2 pipeline. It is designed to allow Russia to send its national gas directly to Germany, without having to pass through Ukraine. This will save Ukraine transit fees. Although the pipeline is in construction, it has not been certified. Antony Blinken, Secretary of State, argued that Putin’s desire for the pipeline to be activated gives the West leverage since the Kremlin has deployed troops at the Ukrainian border.

Many of his fellow Democrats, including President Joe Biden supported Senator Robert Menendez’s alternative bill that he presented on Wednesday. If Russia engages in hostilities with Ukraine, his legislation would impose severe sanctions on the top Russian government officials, military officers and banks.

Democrat Senator Jeanne Shaheen voted against the bill because it threatened unity in Washington and Europe in response to Russian aggression against Ukraine.

The United States and some European countries, including Ukraine, Poland, and others, are opposed to the pipeline. This would not only deprive Kyiv from transit fees, but also increase Moscow’s influence over Europe, where gas prices continue to rise.

Cruz stated that the Senate majority supported fast action on the pipeline, which was praised by Russian President Vladimir Putin. It is being led by Gazprom, a state energy company.

Menendez bill, for which there is no date yet, would place sanctions on the pipeline and Russian officials and entities following any aggression by Moscow on Ukraine.

Nord Stream 2, worth $11 billion, would transport Russian gas through Germany to Europe via the Baltic Sea. The Nord Stream 2 pipeline was completed in late 2013, but approvals from Germany and the EU are still pending. These approvals may not be granted until the middle of next year.

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