WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Jim Risch (R-Idaho), ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, last week led Senators Rob Portman (R-Ohio), John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), and Ted Cruz (R-Texas) in introducing an amendment to the FY2022 National Defense Authorization Act to stop the Nord Stream 2 (NS2) pipeline project. The amendment imposes mandatory sanctions on Nord Stream 2 AG, the Kremlin-owned company in charge of Putin’s malign pipeline project.
“For the third year in a row, a bipartisan majority in Congress has acted to stop the malign NS2 project. Since the Biden Administration refused to impose mandatory congressional sanctions on NS2 earlier this year, Russia has cut gas transit through Ukraine and amassed troops and military equipment on the Ukrainian border. Putin is also publicly warning European Union leaders to quickly certify NS2 if they want relief from Europe’s worst gas crisis in years,” said Risch. “Unsurprisingly, the Biden Administration has not imposed any cost on Russia for creating and weaponizing this energy crisis. So long as the administration continues to ignore the bipartisan will of Congress, we will continue to push legislation that protects our allies and interests in Europe, while countering the Kremlin’s malign influence projects.”
“The Biden administration’s decision to waive the congressionally mandated sanctions has emboldened President Putin while hurting our ally Ukraine. At a time when Russian troops are once again surging to Ukrainian-Russian border – implementation of these sanctions are crucial to supporting European independence and energy security,” said Portman.
“At a time when Russia is restricting energy in Europe, the Biden administration needs to follow the law by sanctioning Nord Stream 2,” said Barrasso. “We know that protecting this Russian trap is not in our national security interest. Our amendment will rightfully restore bipartisan sanctions on Putin’s geopolitical weapon.”
“President Biden allowing the completion of projects like the Nord Stream 2 pipeline is a threat to European energy security. His decision to waive sanctions sent an unfortunate signal that the United States is not prepared to do what Congress has mandated the administration do: use crushing sanctions to stop the pipeline. This type of weakness only encourages Putin’s aggression. He’s not paying a significant price for his malign activities, and with decisions like these, the Biden administration is only encouraging him. This administration is sending a message of weakness and appeasement to our adversaries, encouraging and emboldening them. I am happy to support this amendment that will serve as a check on Putin’s malign activities,” said Johnson.
“The Nord Stream 2 pipeline will expand Russian influence and threaten energy security throughout Europe. Since the Biden administration won’t hold Putin accountable, Congress must take action to ensure our NATO allies aren’t hostage to Russian energy,” said Cotton.
This amendment is the Senate companion to bipartisan legislation that already passed the House overwhelmingly this summer. Text of the amendment can be found here.