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Sen. Cruz: ‘The Administration Needs to Immediately Begin Implementing These Sanctions’ on Nord Stream 2 Pipe-Laying Vessels

‘The only responsible and rational decision for the corporate leadership of Allseas to make is to stop construction’

December 12, 2019

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202-228-7561

WASHINGTON, D.C. - U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, today delivered remarks on the Senate floor applauding the inclusion of his and Sen. Jeanne Shaheen's (D-N.H.) bipartisan bill, S. 1441, Protecting Europe's Energy Security Act, which will impose devastating, targeted sanctions on companies and vessels involved in installing deep sea pipelines for Russia's Nord Stream 2, in the FY20 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). The House passed the FY20 NDAA yesterday, and the Senate is expected to vote next week.

Sen. Cruz's remarks come on the one-year anniversary of the European Parliament's vote to condemn the construction of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline:

"By a vote of 433-105, the members of the European Parliament called for the project to be cancelled because, ‘It is a political project that poses a threat to European energy security and the efforts to diversify energy supply.'

"In the coming days, the United States Congress will answer the call to stop this profoundly dangerous project.

He continued:

"When the Senate passes the National Defense Authorization Act, which will be any day now, and the president signs it, which will be shortly thereafter, two things need to happen immediately.

"Number one, the Treasury Department and the administration needs to immediately begin working implementing these sanctions. And I'm confident the administration will follow the directives of President Trump, that he has said that Nord Stream 2 is harmful to the national security interests of the United States of America and it's harmful to Europe.

"But number two, there will be a decision made by the CEO and corporate leadership of Allseas. The instant this bill is signed into law, and we are only days away from that, if Allseas continues with construction of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, even for a single day after this law is signed, then Allseas risks crippling sanctions that could devastate the company.

Sen. Cruz concluded, noting how stopping the Nord Stream 2 pipeline is a major national security victory for the United States and Europe alike:

"If and when that happens, that will be an incredible victory. It will be an incredible victory for Europe, an incredible victory for Ukraine, an incredible victory for energy security, and an incredible victory for jobs in the United States of America.

"It's far better for Europe to be relying on energy from the United States than to be fueling Putin and Russia and dependent on Russia and subject to economic blackmail."

Sen. Cruz's full remarks may be viewed here and below:

"Madam President, I rise today to celebrate yet another major bipartisan victory that is included as part of the National Defense Authorization Act that the House has passed and the Senate is preparing to pass.

"As it so happens, today is the one-year anniversary - the one year to the very day - that the European Parliament voted overwhelmingly to condemn the construction of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline between Russia and Germany.

"By a vote of 433-105, the members of the European Parliament called for the project to be cancelled because, ‘It is a political project that poses a threat to European energy security and the efforts to diversify energy supply.'

"In the coming days, the United States Congress will answer the call to stop this profoundly dangerous project.

"The House has acted and the Senate will act very soon. As part of the National Defense Authorization Act, sanctions on the Nord Stream 2 pipeline are included -- the Cruz-Shaheen legislation. [...] I introduced bipartisan legislation. Senator Shaheen and I, and the Foreign Relations Committee brought our legislation to a vote. We won an overwhelming bipartisan vote -- a vote of 20-2 out of the Foreign Relations Committee.

"And in the past weeks and months, there have been extended negotiations to include this legislation, these sanctions, in the National Defense Authorization Act.

"We have negotiated with Republicans and Democrats - Republicans and Democrats on the Senate Armed Services Committee, on the Foreign Relations Committee, on the Banking Committee, in leadership, and also Republicans and Democrats on the House Armed Services Committee, Foreign Relations, Banking, [and] leadership. And we've achieved a remarkable consensus.

"Part of the reason we were able to achieve this bipartisan victory is that the sanctions are narrowly targeted -- precisely targeted. The Nord Stream 2 pipeline is a pipeline from Russia to Germany to carry natural gas that if completed, would generate billions of dollars for Putin. Billions of dollars that would fund Russian military aggression.

"Not only that, but this pipeline - if completed - would make Europe even more dependent on Russian energy. Even more vulnerable to Russian blackmail. Putin has demonstrated he is more than willing to cut off the gas in the dead of winter, as economic blackmail against his neighbors.

"This pipeline is being built this very moment. It is near completion.

"The legislation that we are passing is designed to operate like a scalpel -- specifically directed to the ships that lay the deep-sea pipeline needed to complete Nord Stream 2. There are only five companies on the face of the earth with the technological capability to lay the deep-sea pipeline. Russia does not have one of those companies. The Russian government lacks the expertise to lay this pipeline.

"As a result, Russia has contracted with a Swiss company, Allseas. And right now as we speak, Allseas has a ship, called the Pioneering Spirit, that is laying this pipeline right now. While the legislation that has passed the House, that is about to pass the Senate, imposes crippling sanctions on any company laying this pipeline.

"It's designed to operate like a scalpel, so it doesn't impact anyone else. But if this legislation operates, as Congress intends [and] as both Republicans and Democrats in the Senate and House intend, then it will halt construction of this pipeline overnight.

"The best estimates we have are that if uninterrupted, the Nord Stream 2 pipeline would be completed about the end of January. That means the window to stop the pipeline is vanishingly small.

"When the Senate passes the National Defense Authorization Act, which will be any day now, and the president signs it, which will be shortly thereafter, two things need to happen immediately.

"Number one, the Treasury Department and the administration needs to immediately begin working implementing these sanctions. And I'm confident the administration will follow the directives of President Trump, that he has said that Nord Stream 2 is harmful to the national security interests of the United States of America and it's harmful to Europe.

"But number two, there will be a decision made by the CEO and corporate leadership of Allseas. The instant this bill is signed into law, and we are only days away from that, if Allseas continues with construction of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, even for a single day after this law is signed, then Allseas risks crippling sanctions that could devastate the company.

"Now the purpose of this legislation is not to see those sanctions implemented on Allseas. The purpose of this legislation is to stop construction. And the only responsible and rational decision for the corporate leadership of Allseas to make is to stop construction.

"My understanding is, their contract with the Russians has an explicit escape hatch in case sanctions were passed. And so, Allseas shareholders are at profound risk if Allseas corporate leadership does anything other than, the day this is signed, cease construction and stop the pipeline.

"Mr. President, if and when that happens, that will be an incredible victory. It will be an incredible victory for Europe, an incredible victory for Ukraine, an incredible victory for energy security, and an incredible victory for jobs in the United States of America.

"It's far better for Europe to be relying on energy from the United States than to be fueling Putin and Russia, and dependent on Russia and subject to economic blackmail.

"That is why, as I noted, the European Parliament voted by a vote of 433-105 to condemn Nord Stream 2.

"Passing these Nord Stream 2 sanctions are an incredible victory for the United States and national security, but it's also an incredible loss for Vladimir Putin and Russia.

"So I commend my Democratic cosponsor Senator Shaheen. I commend the cosponsors that this legislation has had both Republicans and Democrats in a bipartisan way. And I commend the United States Senate and the United States House for coming together at a time when so many other issues divide us, we have united in defense of America, in defense of Europe, and in opposition to Russia's military aggression.

"Passing Nord Stream 2 sanctions is a big, big deal. And I commend the U.S. Congress for acting swiftly in the rapidly closing window we have to stop this project.

"Mr. President, I yield the floor."

Sen. Cruz has led the fight in the Senate to stop construction of Nord Stream 2, a natural gas pipeline that, if completed, would vastly strengthen President Vladimir Putin at the expense of the rest of the free world. The bill passed the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in July with an overwhelming majority.

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