Washington — Senate arrangement sets the stage for a January vote on whether to sanction the company behind the natural gas pipeline from Russia to Germany, and the Byden administration’s efforts to prevent Russia’s invasion of Ukraine Is complicated.
The upcoming vote is about the Nord Stream 2 pipeline project, which the Biden administration opposes but has not stopped with all its might, fearing that the New Year of Parliament will undermine important relations with Germany. It means starting with a controversial debate.
The $ 11 billion pipeline was completed in September and is waiting for certification to become operational. Leaders of the new German coalition government said they would not allow gas flow if Russian President Vladimir Putin invaded Ukraine. Along the Ukrainian border, he gathered up to 100,000 troops.
The Senate agreement, which was signed late Friday night, was a concession by the Democratic Party to Texas Republican Senator Ted Cruz, with dozens of President Biden to protest weak opposition to President Biden’s pipeline. Delayed confirmation of candidates. Mr. Cruz and others say that while Nord Stream 2 provides Russia with dangerous control over cash injection and Europe’s energy supply, Russia will pass through territory from a similar pipeline that it may detour. It claims that the annual shipping charges from the pipeline could cost the Ukrainian government about $ 3 billion.
“Great victory,” wrote Mr. Cruz. On twitter.. “When the Senate is reconvened, we will finally vote to sanction Putin’s pipeline.”
This is a vote that the Biden administration wanted to avoid. But instead, Mr. Cruz agreed to allow confirmation of 36 of Mr. Biden’s candidates for the State and Treasury, including 28 ambassadors. Some of them were nominated a few months ago. Among them were former Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, who was elected Ambassador to Japan by Mr. Biden, and envoys to France, Poland and the European Union.
Majority leader Chuck Schumer, a New York senator, promised that Cruz would vote on the bill by January 14, setting the stage for Biden’s potential blame in the Senate. Mr Cruz was furious when the Biden administration in May abandoned parliamentary sanctions on pipeline operator NordStream AG and its German CEO.
Biden officials at the time opposed the construction of a pipeline to pump gas from the Russian Arctic to Germany via the Baltic Sea, but by the time Mr. Biden took office, the project was almost complete and virtually unstoppable. Said it was possible. At this point, Whitehouse officials say the cost of friction with the German government outweighs Mr Putin’s potential loss.
German officials say the project has not been officially certified and will not be operational in the coming months. Jake Sullivan, a briefing reporter at the White House last week and Biden’s national security adviser, said it meant that the pipeline was “not leveraged for Putin.” Indeed, if Vladimir Putin wants to see the flow of gas through its pipeline, he may not want to risk invading Ukraine, so it’s a leverage for the West. “
However, some analysts say the pipeline may be less important to Mr Putin than his long-standing design on Ukrainian territory.
Under agreement with Schumer, Mr. Cruz’s bill requires 60 votes to pass. This is possible given that many Senate Democrats are against the Nord Stream project. It is unclear whether Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi will take this step after the passage of the Speaker of the Senate. It may depend on whether Mr Putin has escalated his military presence along the Ukrainian border. The December 7 call between Mr Biden and Mr Putin did little to ease the situation, and last week the Kremlin issued a series of requests that the Biden authorities were largely unacceptable.
Senator Chris Coons, a Democrat in Delaware and a close ally of Biden who helped negotiate the deal, confirms the final language of the bill and consults with Biden officials before deciding how to vote. Said to wait. A State Department spokesman did not respond to requests for comment.
Mr. Koons said he recently met in Berlin this month with Olaf Scholz, who took over Chancellor Angela Merkel as German Chancellor. He noted the new German government’s pledge not to certify the pipeline until 2022.
“I’m not downplaying sanctions when a close ally like Germany is heading in the right direction,” Koons said.
In another transaction on Thursday, the Senate confirmed R. Nicholas Burns as Mr. Biden’s choice of US ambassador to China.
The vote followed another agreement with Florida Republican Senator Marco Rubio, who blocked Mr Burns’ confirmation. Rubio has insisted on a Senate vote on a bill that would force US companies to prove that goods manufactured in China’s Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region were not manufactured by Uighur Muslim forced labor.
According to the White House, the Senate confirmed 85 candidates last week. That’s a total of 40 more people a year than President Donald J. Trump’s first year in office.
Citing the pipeline project, Mr. Cruz said he used delayed tactics against candidates from the State Department and the Treasury to prevent the Senate’s Democratic Party from the practice of swift confirmation of the Senate by unanimous voice vote. Has resented personnel and Biden officials.
Cruz said in the past that if Congress sent a bill to Biden to approve the Nord Stream project, it would allow more candidates to be identified.
According to the White House, 287 of Mr. Biden’s candidates across the government, including dozens of ambassadors and other State Department officials, remain unidentified.
Koons said he hopes that last week’s breakthrough will soon lead to further confirmation.
“The Department of State, the United Nations, and ambassadors around the world need a full-staffed senior team,” Koons said. “And I respect that the senators of both parties have the right to use hold occasionally to force policy debates, but I think this is out of control.”