Tuesday, January 25, 2022

Democrats beat GOP sanctions on Russian gas pipeline Nation World News

WASHINGTON ( Associated Press) – Senate Democrats on Thursday defeated a bill by Texas Republican Ted Cruz that would have repealed sanctions on businesses involved in a Russian natural gas pipeline in Germany, denouncing it as a GOP political gesture. Which would have damaged relations with European allies.

The vote on Cruz’s measure approving the operators of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline was 55–44, less than the 60 needed to pass it. While the Democratic-controlled House and opposition to President Joe Biden meant he had little chance of success, Republicans used the opportunity to portray Democrats as cowards in standing up to Russian President Vladimir Putin, whose military Ukraine’s borders largely because they demand concessions. West.

Putin “can smell the weakness,” Sen. John Barrasso, R-Vyo. said before the vote. “Stopping this pipeline should be an area of ​​a bipartisan agreement.”

“This bill is not going to help Ukraine,” countered Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Con. “It’s Made To Hurt” Biden.

A handful of Democrats joined Republicans in voting for the measure.

The new natural gas pipeline, which is awaiting final approval from German and European officials before being put into operation, has received special attention as a package of deterrents sufficient to deter the US and its European ally Putin from invasion. trying to make. Ukraine.

Ukraine has angered Putin by demanding closer ties with the West. Putin insists he has no plans to invade, but is seeking a concession from NATO that the allies say they will never grant.

The Biden administration and its supporters in Congress argue that Cruz’s bill would have damaged ties with Germany, which, like Europe, is dependent on imported natural gas, at a time when the US is presenting a united front against Putin over Ukraine. demanding to do.

If Russia does invade, Democrats have introduced their own legislation targeting Putin, his top civil and military officials, and Russian financial institutions. Secretary of State Antony Blinken insisted that Germany was certain to block operation of the pipeline if Russia moved troops to eastern Ukraine, although Germany’s new government has not publicly given any definite assurances.

The pipeline will double the amount of gas pumped directly into Germany by Russian state-owned gas company Gazprom. Lawmakers from both US parties have strongly opposed the pipeline, saying it would increase Putin’s influence on Europe.

Cruz said Putin intended to use the pipeline “as a spade against our European allies”.

Democrats insisted that much of the work on the pipeline was done under the previous administration. “This is the Trump-Putin pipeline,” said Sen. Robert Menendez, a New Jersey Democrat and sponsor of the rival Democratic bill, which has yet to come up for a vote. “The Trump administration failed to act.”

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