The Senate was poised Thursday to reject a Republican bill that might have imposed new sanctions on the Russian-owned firm behind the development of a controversial pure gasoline pipeline linking Russia and Germany below the Baltic Sea.
The bill, which was launched by Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) final yr, failed to attain the required 60-vote threshold. The ultimate tally had not but been known as as of Thursday night.
Six Democratic senators – Mark Kelly of Arizona, Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin, Raphael Warnock of Georgia, Maggie Hassan of New Hampshire, and Jacky Rosen and Catherine Cortez Mastro of Nevada – voted to help the laws.
Sens. Krysten Sinema (D-Ariz.) and Ben Ray Lujan (D-NM) switched their votes from “aye” to “no” whereas the roll name was in progress.
Rand Paul (R-Ky.) was the one Republican to vote “no.” Sen. Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii) was not current to vote due to a latest COVID-19 prognosis.
Cruz urged his Democratic colleagues to help the measure prior to the vote, noting that it was comparable to a separate sanctions bill launched Wednesday by Democrats and had the help of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.
“The eyes of history are on the Senate,” Cruz mentioned. “There are moments, particularly dealing with war and peace, where the consequences of our actions echo throughout the decades. This moment is one of them.”
The Nord Stream 2 pipeline, which is accomplished however not but operational, bypasses current gas transit routes by means of Ukraine, denying the Kiev authorities of profitable charges. Foreign coverage specialists warn the pipeline would make Europe extra dependent on Russian power to warmth their properties and companies.
Meanwhile, roughly 100,000 Russian forces have amassed on the border with Ukraine, main many to concern an invasion.
While President Biden has vowed to impose “severe” financial sanctions in opposition to Russian President Vladimir Putin if Moscow goes forward with navy motion, the White House and Senate Democrats have repeatedly criticized Cruz’s bill.
The proposal would have put sanctions in place 15 days after approval, no matter whether or not Russia invades Ukraine. The laws would have additionally imposed sanctions on high Russian navy and authorities leaders, together with Putin, in addition to monetary establishments. Companies that present safe messaging programs would even be hit.
A State Department spokesperson informed The Post on Wednesday that the Republican proposal “will undermine our efforts to deter Russia and remove leverage the United States and our allies and partners possess in this moment all to score political points at home. And it would come at a moment where we need to be closely united with our European partners, including Germany. It makes no sense.”
On Thursday, Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Robert Menendez (D-NJ) spoke in opposition to Cruz in favor of his personal sanctions laws, which solely places sanctions in place if Moscow invades Ukraine.
“We are voting on whether to sanction Nord Stream 2, as if that alone would deter Putin from reinvading,” Menendez mentioned. “Sanctioning Nord Stream 2 now, at this pivotal moment, would have the opposite effect of deterring Putin. It might even be the excuse Putin is looking for.”
“Senator Cruz wants to stop the pipeline. So do I,” Menendez added. “But it is far from clear that sanctions at this point, when the pipeline is already built, will do just that.”
The White House helps Menendez’s bill, in accordance to a spokesperson for the National Security Council who mentioned it might “trigger severe costs to Russia’s economy” if Moscow chooses to assault.