Democrats and Cruz ready to face the Russian pipeline

Democrats are heading for a showdown with Sen. Ted cruzRafael (Ted) Edward Cruz Overnight Health Care – Brought to you by AstraZeneca and Friends of Cancer Research – Former advisers urge Biden to revise strategy (R-Texas) for his attempt to force the Biden administration‘s hand on a Russian gas pipeline.

Within the framework of an agreement concluded by Cruz and the leader of the majority Charles schumerChuck Schumer Whether you like it or not, all the roads Democrats have to go through Joe Manchin Pelosi: It was “inexplicable” why it took so long for the National Guard to be activated on January 6 Biden, Obama to speak to Reid’s funeral in Nevada MORE (DN.Y.), the Senate will vote next week on Tory Burnout legislation to impose sanctions on the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, which will transport gas from Moscow to Germany.

Cruz needs the help of 10 Democrats to pass the bill through the Senate and has said he thinks his chances of reaching that threshold are “good”. But Democrats are raising red flags on the bill, even though they have already backed similar sanctions.

“I have spoken to a number of my colleagues, and they have raised serious questions about the Cruz Amendment. … It’s a bit much, ”said the senator. Dick durbinDick Durbin Democrats skeptical of McConnell’s offer to talk about electoral law Democratic agenda stuck in limbo Struggling Federal Bureau of Prisons director resigns MORE (D-Ill.), Senate Democrat No.2, asked if 10 Democrats would support the bill.

Cruz’s legislation requires the administration to impose penalties related to the pipeline within 15 days of the bill coming into force. But a big sticking point for Democrats, raised by Senators who spoke to The Hill, are restrictions on Biden’s ability to lift the sanctions, including the ability for Congress to vote to reinstate the sanctions if they do. are lifted.

“I have been opposed to Nord Stream 2. I am still opposed to Nord Stream 2. However, there are some things in the Cruz Amendment that are unprecedented. It gives me a break, ”the senator said. Ben cardinBenjamin (Ben) Louis Cardin Lawmakers discuss changes to counting law after January 6 US lawmakers assess new COVID-19 stimulus funding for businesses Former RNC chief Michael Steele opts against the governor’s candidacy PLUS (Md.), A senior Democrat on the Foreign Relations Committee.

Senator Tim kaineTimothy (Tim) Michael Kaine’s Virginia Democrats brace for a rare confirmation fight against Wheeler. (D-Va.) Noted that the foreign relations committee, on which he sits with Cruz, had been “fairly uniformly against Nord Stream 2” and in favor of sanctions, but “the question is, what are the conditions, l executive get the chance to lift the sanctions? “

The vote could be politically awkward for Democrats, forcing them to choose between supporting a president they align with politically or cracking down on a pipeline they oppose even if they don’t agree with Cruz’s tactics. Cruz also opened the door to lifting part of his blockade on Biden’s candidates if his bill goes through the Senate.

The Biden administration previously lifted sanctions against the pipeline company Nord Stream 2 AG, a subsidiary of Russian company Gazprom. Voting for Cruz’s amendment would effectively support the decision to reject Biden.

Democrats have come under pressure from the Biden administration and its European allies to reject the imposition of financial sanctions on the pipeline.

Secretary of State Anthony Blinken previously pressured Democrats to reject Cruz’s proposal last year when he proposed it as an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), a bill large-scale defense policy.

Blinken, in a speech this week, argued that the pipeline could be used as a brake on Russia’s aggression against Ukraine, where Moscow has amassed troops along the border.

“This pipeline is currently not crossed by gas and if Russia renews its aggression against Ukraine, it would certainly be difficult to see gas cross it in the future,” Blinken said.

Germany is unlikely to certify the pipeline for operation in the first half of the year, according to the head of the federal gas and infrastructure authority, Reuters reported, citing regulatory requirements that have yet to be met. .

State Department spokesman Ned Price added that the administration is working with members of Congress and European allies “on a package of sanctions … which maximizes the potential costs to Russia if Moscow continues its aggression against it. ‘Ukraine’.

Highlighting the complicated diplomatic dance undertaken by the White House, the vote will coincide with diplomatic summits next week with Russia and other partners to address and ease tension on the Ukrainian border. Russia has amassed nearly 100,000 troops on the Ukrainian border, raising fears of an invasion.

Kaine, who said he is still reviewing Cruz’s legislation, acknowledged that the Biden administration was concerned about transatlantic tensions at a precarious time, but noted that a new German government and increased Russian aggression could “change. a little dynamic “.

“I want to know what the administration position is, but president obamaBarack Hussein ObamaOvernight Energy & Environment – Virginia Prepares To Fight Trump Era Official Biden Honors Sidney Poitier The Hill: Biden’s 12:30 p.m. report released in 2022 MORE was a friend and I voted for things he didn’t like. We do our job, and then the chair does his job. … If he really doesn’t like what we’re doing, he can veto it, ”he said.

Nord Stream 2 pipeline sparked broad bipartisan backlash on Capitol Hill over fears it might strengthen Russian president Vladimir PoutineVladimir Vladimirovich Putin Overnight Defense & National Security – White House responds to report on US forces NATO rejects Russian demands to stop expansion White House denies report that it plans to withdraw troops from Europe from Europe ‘Is morehand over Europe.

Senator Jeanne ShaheenCynthia (Jeanne) Jeanne Shaheen Ukrainian President and US lawmakers stand together amid tensions with Russia Angelina Jolie returns to Congress to advocate for violence against women law Biden tries to ease tensions with appeal by Poutine PLUS (DN.H.), for example, recently co-wrote an op-ed with Sen. Rob portmanRobert (Rob) Jones Portman McCaul Tests Positive for COVID-19 in Latest Congressional Breakthrough The Hill’s Morning Report – Brought to you by Altria – Democrats see same games hoping for better results (R-Ohio) urging the Biden administration to “seriously reconsider the imposition of [Nord Stream 2] punishments.”

The House also previously voted to approve the Nord Stream 2 sanctions as part of its defense policy bill. But the provisions were removed from the final agreement between the House and the Senate.

If the Democrats block his bill, Cruz is already signaling that he will arm a “no” vote because the Democrats are lenient with Russia.

“Virtually all Democrats have voted several times for sanctions on Nord Stream 2. If it was a substantive vote, it would be unanimous or almost unanimous. There are several Democrats who have told me that they are going to vote for this, or that they are strongly considering voting for it, ”said Cruz.

Cruz added that supporting his bill “should be an easy vote,” before offering a likely glimpse of how he will characterize a defeat of the legislation.

“Every Democrat is going to have to make a choice,” he said, “if his partisan loyalty to the White House is greater than his willingness to stand up to Russia and stop Putin’s aggression.

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