Nord Stream 2 Causing Problems in Congress

Nord Stream 2 Causing Problems in Congress

December 3, 2021

President Biden’s questionable policies have put a lot of his allies in an uncomfortable position. One of the hardest moves to stand by is President Biden’s decision to waive sanctions against the operator of Nord Stream 2 and let the pipeline proceed.

Biden’s move to let the pipeline continue bolsters Russian energy and further enhances their geopolitical influence. The decision also ironically follows numerous policies the President enacted that directly tore down America’s domestic energy industry. Specifically, the executive order he signed on his first day in office canceling the Keystone Pipeline that immediately eliminated 10,000 American union jobs.

The hypocrisy of Biden’s decision on Nord Stream 2 proved one thing – Biden favors foreign energy over domestic energy. This is an unfortunate reality we have been living in since Biden took office. The Nord Stream 2 decision has now become an even bigger problem affecting Congress as Axios reports:

Republicans have already blocked dozens of Biden’s foreign-policy nominees, and the dispute threatened to derail an annual defense bill passed by Congress every year for six decades.

With a Dec. 31 deadline looming, the Senate has remained unable to close debate on the National Defense Authorization Act.

  • The delay is in large part because Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer refused to hold a floor vote on a Republican amendment reimposing sanctions on the operator of Nord Stream 2, citing a technical issue with the amendment.
  • However, late Tuesday night, the Senate reached an agreement to hotline — the process by which Republican and Democratic leadership swiftly gauges whether they can expedite legislative business — a package of 21 amendments for floor consideration.
  • The Nord Stream amendment proposed by Sen. James Risch (R-Idaho), ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, is included in the package, Senate leadership aides tell Axios. If there are no objections to the overall package, Risch’s amendment will be formally considered, they said.

The Biden administration’s State Department energy envoy Amos Hochstein and Secretary of State Anthony Blinken have been lobbying Democrats against the amendment. Axios also reported, “A major Democratic donor and Nord Stream 2 lobbyist has made maximum campaign contributions this year to Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and vulnerable Senate Democrats, campaign finance records show.”

While Sen. Risch’s amendment will be included in the package to be considered, it would be set up as a “side-by-side” with another amendment proposed by Sen. Bob Menedez (D-NJ). Sen. Menendez’s amendment would impose a cascade of sanctions – including on Nord Stream 2 – if Russia invades Ukraine, according to a Senate aide. However, Menendez’s amendment ultimately leaves the determination of whether to sanction Russia up to the Biden administration.

If Biden didn’t waive sanctions on Nord Stream 2 and didn’t push policies that weakened American energy, the U.S. would be providing energy to Europe instead of Russia, and Congress most likely wouldn’t be held up with the NDAA.