Ted Cruz’s Russian gas pipeline sanction bill fails to pass Senate

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The Senate failed to pass a bill sponsored by Republican Senator Ted Cruz to sanction Russia’s Nord Stream 2 natural gas pipeline.

The tally was 55-44, failing to reach the 60 votes needed to pass. The energy project, led by Russian gas giant Gazprom, has faced controversy and resistance from Ukraine and the US.

The pipeline when operating, would bypass the Ukrainian transit infrastructure and provide Russian natural gas directly to Germany through the Baltic sea. It is built in its entirety but awaits regulatory approval.

The pipeline to take Russian gas under the Baltic Sea to Germany was finished in September but may not be approved until the middle of the year after Germany has slowed approvals.

The Biden administration has opposed Nord Stream 2 as it would bypass Ukraine, depriving it of lucrative transit fees, and potentially undermining its struggle against Russia.

Cruz’s bill would force the administration to sanction the pipeline after it waived sanctions earlier this year on the project’s parent company Nord Stream 2 AG and its chief executive officer, Matthias Warnig.

Cruz has called the gas pipeline a “giveaway” to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

“The point is to stop Nord Stream 2 from ever becoming operational” Cruz told reporters at the Capitol Tuesday. “That’s the objective.”

The German government had also urged members of Congress to not slap sanctions on the pipeline, arguing that it would harm the Washington-Berlin relationship.

Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Menendez, backed by Majority Leader Charles Schumer and the White House, also offered competing legislation, giving Democrats worried about Ukraine an alternative bill to support.

The Nord Stream 2 pipeline is completed and ready to pump Russian gas to Europe, but nothing is flowing yet because it is still awaiting clearance from Germany’s energy regulator.

Europe’s most controversial energy project, which is led by Russian gas giant Gazprom, has faced resistance from the United States and Ukraine among others.

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