WASHINGTON: The US Senate rejected Republican Senator Ted Cruz’s bill that would impose sanctions within 15 days on companies building and operating the Nord Stream 2 pipeline.
The US Senate on Thursday failed to get the 60 votes needed to pass the legislation. The vote was 55 in favor and 43 opposed, as voting continued into the early evening.
Biden administration officials were on Capitol Hill earlier this week lobbying against support for the bill due to concerns that it could compromise cooperation between the United States and European partners in the security talks with Russia that seek to address pressing issues in Eastern Europe.
The Biden administration believes sanctions on the Nord Stream 2 pipeline would deprive the United States and its European allies of an item to use as leverage during the negotiations with Russia. Moreover, the Biden administration warned that sanctions on the Nord Stream 2 pipeline could lead to a spike in Russian energy prices that may impact European partners during the winter.
Cruz has long been trying to push through a bill that would force the US government to re-impose economic sanctions on the company building the Nord Stream 2 pipeline. In fall 2021, Cruz blocked the confirmation of nearly 60 ambassadors in an effort to secure a vote on his bill to sanction the pipeline. He lifted the block after US Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer pledged that a vote on Cruz’s bill would take place by January 14.
Senator Bob Menendez introduced a bill to impose sanctions on top Russian government and military officials and entities, including Russian banks, if the situation with respect to Ukraine escalates, but a vote has not been scheduled on the measure.
The Nord Stream 2 pipeline, completed last September, will deliver gas from Russia to Germany via the Baltic Sea.
The process of certifying Nord Stream 2 AG as the pipeline’s independent operator is currently underway to ensure the project complies with the conditions of the 2019 EU Gas Directive.
The German regulators are expected to decide on the certification in the second half of 2022. (ANI/Sputnik)