November 18, 2021

Risch Objects to Moving NDAA Package without Nord Stream 2 Provision

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Jim Risch (R-Idaho), ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, took to the Senate floor tonight to object to moving the FY 2022 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) without his amendment that would sanction the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, Putin’s premier energy weapon against Ukraine and Europe.

“Madam President, I’m reserving my right to object. I want to speak today on behalf of my amendment, Risch 4794, which is not included on that list, which I’ve introduced with cosponsors, Senators Portman, Cruz, Barrasso, Johnson, Cotton, Daines, and Wicker.

“This amendment is the Senate companion to bipartisan language that is already included in the House-passed NDAA, would sanction Nord Stream 2, Putin’s premier energy weapon against Ukraine and Europe.

“The timing could not be more important. Ukraine stands on the brink of an invasion and Europe is in the throes of an energy crisis created by Russia. There’s a reason Ukraine’s President Zelenskyy tweeted an urgent request last week regarding this amendment, which said “all friends of Ukraine and Europe in the U.S. Senate should back this amendment.”

“We are now seeing the consequences of the administration’s decision to waive mandatory PEESA sanctions and refusal to impose CAATSA sanctions.

“Russia has deliberately cut gas transmission to Europe through Ukraine and is using high energy prices to pressure the EU into approving Nord Stream 2 as quickly as possible. Putin has publicly stated as such.

“Meanwhile, Russian forces have built up along the border with Ukraine in preparation for what could be a full-scale invasion, just as they did to Crimea.

“Remember, Nord Stream 2 is designed to replace Ukraine’s gas transit system, meaning Russia no longer has to worry about destroying its own infrastructure in the event of a full-scale war. We cannot not allow Putin’s blackmail to succeed.

“Nord Stream 2 has always been a bipartisan issue here in the Senate, and it should continue to be. Not a single member of Congress supports the completion of this pipeline. I’d like to think a similar number of us don’t feel we should ignore our friends in Europe, particularly Central and Eastern Europe, who stand to lose the most from Nord Stream 2.

“Our amendment would impose mandatory sanctions against Nord Stream 2 AG, the company responsible for the project, as well as the companies involved in testing and certifying the pipeline before it becomes operational.

“We do provide the administration with a pathway to lifting these targeted sanctions, pending congressional review. This pathway is the exact same process for congressional input that 98 Senators voted for in CAATSA just a few years ago.

“Nord Stream 2 is not set to become operational for months, so there’s still time to stop it. But we need to act quickly. I urge my colleagues to join our distinguished colleagues in the House of Representatives on this important endeavor, and to vote yes on this amendment.”

Text of the amendment can be found here.

To watch Senator Risch’s remarks on YouTube, click here.

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