U.S. lawmakers make last-ditch effort to reverse Biden’s waiver of Nord Stream 2 sanctions
A group of bipartisan lawmakers are seeking to overturn US President Joe Biden’s decision to lift sanctions against the Russian operator of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline in a last-ditch effort to prevent it from pumping gas to Europe.
An amendment introduced on September 14 by Representatives Michael McCaul (Republican-Texas), Marcy Kaptur (Democrat-Ohio) and about eight other lawmakers orders the president to impose sanctions on any entity responsible for planning, construction or the operation of the Nord Canalization du stream 2. It also authorizes new mandatory sanctions for foreign entities and persons responsible for the planning, construction and operation of Nord Stream 2.
Completed just last week after Biden lifted mandatory congressional sanctions in May, the Baltic Sea pipeline will carry Russian gas directly to Germany, bypassing overland routes through Ukraine, Belarus and other countries. However, it must first receive certification, a process that can take several months, giving hope to some lawmakers that it can be stopped.
Critics say Nord Stream 2 is designed to deprive Ukraine of lucrative transit charges and will further strengthen Russia’s influence over the European energy industry.
Ukraine and Poland vehemently oppose the project on the grounds that it poses a threat to national security, while Germany strongly supported it. The US Congress sided with Kiev and Warsaw, imposing two rounds of mandatory sanctions to prevent its completion.
However, the Biden administration, in a bid to improve frayed ties with Germany, agreed to lift sanctions in exchange for Berlin’s commitments to invest in Ukraine’s energy industry and push the Kremlin to continue to ‘export gas across the country.
The amendment sponsored by McCaul and Kaptur has been referred to defense funding legislation currently under consideration by the House Rules Committee.
The legislation, known as the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), has been used for the past two years to impose sanctions on Nord Stream 2, delaying its completion by more than a year.
The Rules Committee has a meeting scheduled for September 20 to decide whether or not to include the Nord Stream 2 Amendment in the NDAA. Lawmakers have the option to defer to the House Foreign Affairs Committee, as they did last year when similar legislation was proposed.
There is overwhelming bipartisan support in the US House of Representatives for the reimposition of sanctions. Democrats allied with Biden hope to prevent the amendment from being added to the bill by either committee.