According to Politico, the US Senate is expected to vote on measures targeting Russia’s Nord Stream 2 project on January 14. Several news outlets have stated Republican Senator Ted Cruz introduced the legislation.
Cruz’s plan, according to the language seen by media outlets, requires pipeline restrictions to be implemented within 15 days of approval. The plan also empowers Congress to choose to renew the penalties, if the current administration refuses to do so within that time period.
— Wojciech Jakóbik (@wjakobik_en) January 4, 2022
Certainty of Cruz’s Bill
The law requires 60 votes to succeed. Cruz, as well as other Republicans, are certain they will be able to get that number of votes. A top Republican staffer assured reporters Republicans would win the election by a landslide.
The vote holds a clear political cost for Democrats, most of whom were vocal in their opposition to President Joe Biden’s move last year to remove sanctions on the Russian-German pipeline.
The pipeline itself, which is virtually completed and is awaiting approval, adds an extra layer of complexity and drama to the mix as a hypothetical Russian assault on Ukraine, which looms closer in the distance.
It has been pointed out that Democrats might have averted this embarrassing situation for President Biden and his staff.
Sen. Ted Cruz: "A month or two from now, if God forbid, we see Russian tanks moving into Ukraine, remember this moment, where Senate Democrats objected said 'No, we won't sanction [Nord Stream 2]. We won't save Ukraine. We won't stand up to Russia.'" pic.twitter.com/9A31EG1nBk
— Steve Guest (@SteveGuest) December 7, 2021
Democrat Senator Bob Menendez, the chairman of the Senate Foreign Affairs Committee, introduced legislation that would inflict severe repercussions on Moscow, including punitive sanctions on Nord Stream 2.
However, this is only if Russian President Putin invades the country of Ukraine. In principle, the Democrat leadership in the Senate could support Menendez’s legislation, together with Senator Ted Cruz’s legislation.
In accordance with Senate practice, the majority party may submit a substitute resolution on the subject matter at hand; more significantly, it will be put to a vote first. The bill sponsored by the minority party – in this example, Cruz’s plan – would receive a second vote.
Biden’s Withdrawal from Sanctions
According to Politico, Democrats would have gained political cover if Menendez’s measure had been introduced alongside Cruz’s. Almost all senators previously expressed support for a penalties regime comparable to the one outlined in Cruz’s legislation.
However, Biden has subsequently backed away from such penalties. Democrats’ backing of the “Cruz bill” might have put them at odds with their party’s president.
In addition to what has already been stated, the development of the Russian Nord Stream 2 natural gas pipeline was completed as of September 10.
The construction of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline began in the summer of 2018. It has a total length of 1,230 kilometers.
The pipeline, which would run from Russia to Germany across the Baltic Sea, is planned to provide 55 billion cubic meters of natural gas each year.
Conversely, German Vice-Chancellor Robert Habeck backed the resolution of the national government not to intervene in the authorization of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline and to assess it solely from a legal standpoint.