Sen. Cruz: It Will Be The Biden Administrations Fault If Putins Nord Stream 2 Pipeline is Completed
Questions State Department nominees
March 3, 2021
WASHINGTON, D.C. - U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee (SFRC), today questioned President Biden's nominee for Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman during her confirmation hearing. His line of questioning focused on his bipartisan and bicameral fight to stop Putin's pipeline the Nord Stream 2-a project that if completed would undermine America's national security, reward Russia's aggressive expansionism and crimes, including the attempted murder of dissident Alexei Navalny, and hold our European allies' energy security hostage to Russia. Highlights of his questioning are below.
WATCH: Cruz at Senate Foreign Relations Slams Biden Admin for Being Soft on Putin & Russia's Nord Stream 2
On the bipartisan agreement for halting Nord Stream 2 construction, Sen. Cruz said:
"Nord Stream 2 in the last year was an incredible bipartisan victory for the United States. The pipeline was over 90 percent completed from Russia to Germany. Congress acted not once but twice, passing strong bipartisan sanctions. Sanctions supported by Republicans and Democrats on this committee passed it into law. And despite mountains of Russian disinformation, the pipeline ceased minutes before those sanctions were signed into law.
"Unfortunately, the Biden administration has been sending mixed signals, and those signals have been heard by Putin. And so Putin, after ceasing building the pipeline for a year, has gone back to building the pipeline. Because Putin and Russia believe the Biden administration will not hold them accountable-will allow them to complete this pipeline, which would put billions of dollars in Putin's pockets to be used against America, against Europe. [...] Let me start with both of you-do both of you agree that allowing Nord Stream 2 to be completed would be terrible policy for the United States?"
On ensuring the Biden administration upholds mandatory sanctions against the entities involved in Nord Stream 2 construction, Sen. Cruz said:
"Well, if they oppose it, they are not very effective at opposing it. Because when their administration came into office, suddenly it commenced, and to be particular, last month, the State Department transmitted a mandatory and overdue report to Congress about who is helping Putin build the pipeline. The report included one ship and its owner, which the Trump administration had already sanctioned, so simply reiterated what the Trump administration had done. It didn't include any entities that are plainly in violation, not even the company that is actually constructing the pipeline [that] Congress has instructed the president to sanction. Then yesterday, the Biden administration imposed sanctions for the poisoning of Russian dissident, Alexei Navalny, but those sanctions went out of their way not to touch the Nord Stream 2 pipeline. That was not an accident.
"Now that construction has resumed, we have precious little time. I told both of you that if the Biden administration doesn't change course, we're going to wake up in six months or a year and this pipeline is going to be built because the Biden administration failed to act. And so I want to ask you, Ms. Sherman, if confirmed, will you move immediately to ensure that the Biden administration meets its mandatory obligation imposed by Congress to name and sanction all of the entities that are engaged in pipe laying, pipe laying activities, certification or insurance related to Nord Stream 2?"
Ms. Sherman responded:
"Senator, even if confirmed, I will not have the authority to make those decisions unilaterally, but I can say to you that I will do everything I possibly can to ensure that Nord Stream 2 does not go forward. And I know that the administration will welcome advice and counsel from you and from the Senate and will move forward on everything that they can do legally to stop the pipeline."
On the steps the administration should take, Sen. Cruz concluded:
"With all due respect, words are cheap. And so, if the Biden administration wishes to not be soft on Russia, rather than saying we don't want to be soft on Russia, they could actually follow the mandatory law and stop the pipeline. The test is going to be real simple-if Putin has billions of dollars and Europe is energy dependent on Russia because the Biden administration refused to comply with mandatory bipartisan sanctions, that will be the test, and not any political rhetoric about we're tough on Putin. If you're tough on Putin, don't give them billions of dollars. The State Department needs to file a supplemental interim report on Nord Stream two that sanctions every entity and they're refusing to do so. And if this pipeline gets completed, it will be the fault of this administration. I don't want this to happen. I want that to be a bipartisan victory and a victory for the United States. You both have the opportunity to make sure that happens. And so I implore you to do that."
Watch Sen. Cruz's full line of questioning here.
WATCH: Putin's Pipeline Must Never Be Completed