Dispute over Nord Stream 2: US defense budget blocked

Dispute over Nord Stream 2: US defense budget blocked
Dispute over Nord Stream 2: US defense budget blocked

Status: 11/30/2021 8:48 a.m.

In the dispute over the Nord Stream 2 Baltic Sea pipeline, the Republicans in the US Senate have blocked the defense budget. The majority leader of the Democrats, Schumer, criticized this as “unheard of”.

The US Senate has been unable to get the defense budget in motion for the coming year due to objections from Republicans and some Liberal Democrats. The reason for the blockade was the dispute over sanctions against the Nord Stream 2 Baltic Sea pipeline

The Republicans used procedural rules to prevent a vote on the defense budget bill. The annual National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) did not get the 60 yes votes required for passage in the 100-member Senate at 45:51 on Monday.

The Republican minority leader, Mitch McConnell, justified the move with the fact that the Democrats refused to include a change in the law on Nord Stream 2 in the package.

Biden had an exception

The change would mean that President Joe Biden will no longer have the option of exempting US sanctions on Nord Stream 2 for reasons of national security. With the amendment to the law, several Republican senators want to prevent the operation of the pipeline, which is supposed to bring gas from Russia to Germany bypassing Ukraine.

The Democrat Biden had issued special permits in May, with which Nord Stream 2 AG, based in Switzerland, and its German managing director were spared US sanctions.

The majority leader of the Democrats, Chuck Schumer, criticized the blockade as “unheard of”. “Just because a couple of Republicans haven’t got every single concession they insisted on is stopping the process,” he said.

Problem for German-American relations

McConnell accused Schumer of having introduced the package with a delay and of trying to prevent debates about “Russia’s aggression”, for example. He called Nord Stream 2 “the pipeline that drives Putin’s invasion of Europe”.

The Democrats need the votes of several Republicans in order for the defense budget to be put to the vote in the Senate. If the new regulations sought by the Republicans come about, German-American relations are likely to suffer as well.

Biden: The pipeline can no longer be prevented

The US news website “Axios” reported on Sunday, citing confidential documents from the German embassy in Washington, that the German government had warned Congress of sanctions in connection with Nord Stream 2 – these would represent a victory for Russian President Vladimir Putin.

In the year-long dispute over the project, the federal government and the Biden government announced a breakthrough in July. They published a joint statement pledging support for Ukraine. The USA had massively criticized Nord Stream for two years. Biden then admitted that the US would no longer be able to prevent the pipeline.

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