Sen. Cruz: Democrats Used To Support Stopping Nord Stream 2; Its Not Too Late to Reverse Joe Bidens Surrender and Stop the Biden-Putin Pipeline
This body, Congress as a whole, Democrats and Republicans, past administrations -- everyone -- has worked together not just to counter Russia, but specifically to prevent Putin from being able to leverage energy as a geopolitical weapon
WASHINGTON, D.C. - U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, this week delivered remarks on the Senate floor calling on President Biden to impose bipartisan Congressionally-mandated sanctions to stop the Nord Stream 2 pipeline before the project comes online. Sen. Cruz quoted Democrat lawmakers as he urged them to reverse Joe Biden's surrender to Putin and prevent this "generational geopolitical blunder." Read excerpts of his floor remarks below.
On how President Biden waived Congressionally-mandated sanctions and capitulated to Russia, Sen. Cruz said:
"In the summer of 2019, Russia was in the process of constructing a pipeline, called the Nord Stream 2 pipeline. Behind me is a map demonstrating where the Nord Stream 2 pipeline runs. It is a pipeline that was to run from Russia, to Germany, going underneath the Baltic Sea. In the summer of 2019, the pipeline was nearly complete. At various periods in time it was 70 percent complete, 80 percent complete. There was widespread consensus that if this pipeline were completed, it would have devastating consequences. In a few minutes, I will discuss those consequences in greater detail. But in an effort to stop the devastating consequences, I worked on bipartisan legislation, along with Senator Jeanne Shaheen, Democrat from New Hampshire, and we introduced bipartisan sanctions legislation designed to stop the Nord Stream 2 pipeline. That legislation when we introduced it was almost immediately subject to a Russian disinformation campaign."
"To the surprise of nobody who follows these issues, that Russian disinformation was precisely that. It was disinformation, it was lies. The Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Senator Shaheen, and I worked with our colleagues, and our legislation was initially voted out of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee by an overwhelming bipartisan vote."
"President Trump signed the Cruz-Shaheen sanctions legislation at 7 p.m. on a Thursday. At 6:45 p.m. on a Thursday, 15 minutes before our sanctions legislation was signed into law, the company that was laying the pipeline in the Baltic Sea announced it immediately halted laying the pipeline, and it was lifting anchor and sailing away. It was an incredible bipartisan victory. The pipeline was stopped in its tracks. What happened next was absolutely nothing. For a year, the pipeline lay dormant. The talking point from Vladimir Putin, and now sadly adopted by Joe Biden in his administration, is the pipeline is 90 percent complete or the pipeline is 95 percent complete. But Mr. President, it is not rocket science that a 90 percent complete pipeline is zero percent complete. Until you complete both ends of the pipeline, It ain't nothing but a hunk of metal at the bottom of the ocean. Nothing is traveling through it until the pipeline is complete and online. For a year, the pipeline lay dormant."
"Then in November of 2020 was the presidential election, and in the wake of the presidential election, Joe Biden and his transition team almost immediately began telegraphing weakness to Russia."
"Within days of Joe Biden and his team expressing weakness to Putin, Russia and Putin heard and they began the process of getting ready to return to building the pipeline. Russia did return to building the pipeline. Do you know what day? January 24, 2021. Four days after Joe Biden was sworn into office, Putin said, ‘We're safe. We're free. Our man Joe is in the White House, and we know that the administration is not going to follow the law anymore.' And so on January 24, the Russians returned to build the pipeline. Now, for two years, this body had been united, Republicans and Democrats, that we were going to stop this pipeline. But Joe Biden and his administration decided instead to waive the sanctions, decided instead to give Vladimir Putin what amounts to a multibillion dollar gift. And not just a gift one time, if this pipeline is allowed to go online, it will put billions of dollars in Putin's pockets every year, year after year. What are the consequences of Nord Stream 2? Number one, Russia gets richer Russia gets stronger, Russia gets billions of dollars that it can use to build its military, to threaten its neighbors, to threaten our allies, to endanger the lives of Americans and our friends. Number two, Europe is hurt. Our friends and allies in Europe are made even more dependent on Russian energy."
"His first day in office Biden shut down the Keystone pipeline, killing 11,000 jobs in the United States, including 8,000 union jobs, 8,000 high paying union jobs, that with a stroke of a pen Joe Biden eliminated. And at the exact same time that Biden is shutting down jobs and a pipeline in America, he is green-lighting and giving a gift to Vladimir Putin of a pipeline between Russia and Germany, producing jobs in Russia, producing billions of dollars in Russia and taking away jobs in America. This pipeline is a disaster."
On how Nord Stream 2 threatens European security and energy independence, Sen. Cruz said:
"Many agree it would be a catastrophe for the security of the United States and for our European allies. Nord Stream 2 goes online, would double the gas flowing from Russia to Germany, while circumventing American allies that Putin targets militarily, diplomatically, and commercially. As a result, if Nord Stream 2 goes online, it will expose Ukraine and Poland to deep, long term dangers, and it will leave them vulnerable the next time Russia targets them for aggression. Right now, 1/3 of Russian gas exports to Europe traveled through Ukraine. That provides Ukraine a curious kind of protection, because Putin knows that he can't endanger that energy infrastructure without endangering his economic line to the world. With Nord Stream 2, Putin and Russia are given by Joe Biden by Kamala Harris effectively open season on Ukraine. And when a year from now we see Russian tanks in Ukraine, we will remember this moment. That it was Joe Biden's surrender to Putin on Nord Stream 2 that enabled Russia to carry out that aggression. If Nord Stream 2 goes online, it will enrich Putin with billions of dollars to direct towards his malign activities."
"Putin uses energy as a weapon. We've seen that pattern over and over again. He uses energy for blackmail and coercion. He turns it off or on to punish resistance to his expansionism. This is a real, acute, and proven threat. Russia turned off the gas to Europe in the winter months of 2006 and again in 2009. Because of political disputes, the Kremlin company that owns and would run Nord Stream 2, Gazprom, has repeatedly cut off gas to Ukraine during political crises. It's open blackmail, and because of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris, Putin will have more power to blackmail our friends in Europe. And it is not only me, it's not only Republicans, indeed, it's not only Republicans and Democrats in Congress who understand the magnitude of this threat."
"In a meeting with the Biden administration, the Polish deputy foreign minister said, ‘Poland considers this project to be detrimental to the security of not only Ukraine, not only Central Europe, but also to the security of the whole of Europe, making the EU dependent on Russian gas.' If we give a damn about our friends in Poland, if we give a damn about our friends in Ukraine, if we give a damn about our friends in Europe, don't allow Joe Biden to allow Vladimir Putin to point this weapon at the heart of Europe.
"A question for every member of this Senate to decide: do we care about endangering the national security, about threatening, about making our European friends subject to blackmail? Do we care about what Estonia has told us, about what Latvia has told us, about what Lithuania has told us? Do we care about the Czech Republic? Do we care about Ireland? Do we care about Poland? Do we care about Ukraine? Do we care about the United Kingdom? Well, our actions can decide that.
"Unfortunately, Joe Biden and Kamala Harris have decided that our European allies - their security is not of sufficient concern to them. And instead, they have actively given this pipeline to Vladimir Putin. My Democrat colleagues, and indeed the vast majority of American lawmakers, also understand the precise danger of blackmail and coercion posed by Nord Stream 2. In 2018, Senator Coons, my Democratic colleague from Delaware, said quite plainly that, ‘We have to work with Europe to reduce its dependence on Russia and energy exports. And in particular, to convince it to discontinue the Nord Stream 2 pipeline from Russia to Germany.' Senator Coons continued, ‘As long as Russia dominates the provision of energy to Europe, it will continue to hold a veto over many European policies, and it will be in a position to weaken and marginalize countries like Poland and Ukraine.' Senator Coons was right in 2018, and what he said is right today. Joe Biden is committing a generational political blunder, a catastrophic mistake that hurts American national security and that hurts European security."
"This body, Congress as a whole, Democrats and Republicans, past administrations, everyone has worked together not just to counter Russia, but specifically to prevent Putin from being able to leverage energy as a geopolitical weapon.
"The Biden administration, however, tells us they have a better solution, a better solution than both houses of Congress, a better solution than following U.S. law. Instead of imposing sanctions to stop the pipeline, they tell us they've worked out a deal with Germany that they promise will prevent Putin from being able to use energy as a weapon."
"Those are nice sentiments if they weren't accompanied with Joe Biden giving a multibillion dollar generational gift to Putin to do exactly what President Biden just said he didn't want to do."
On the bipartisan history of the fight to stop Putin's pipeline and his call for Senate Democrats to join him again to halt Nord Stream 2, Sen. Cruz said:
"Democrats and Republicans both know that Nord Stream 2 is a terrible idea - a terrible idea for Europe, and it's a terrible idea for the United States. Here are several examples of the bipartisan agreement we have. It's been commonplace to say that bipartisanship doesn't exist, but Nord Stream 2 refutes that."
"Here's some of the things they said: Senator Menendez said, ‘I think the international community must stand firm against opening more doors and creating new opportunities for further Kremlin aggression in Ukraine, leading to the loss of life. The Russian Federation has repeatedly used its energy resources as a lever of power, and I believe Nord Stream 2 is no exception. Not only will it considerably strengthen the Kremlin stranglehold on Europe, but it allows Moscow to further undermine Ukraine's sovereignty and stability.'
"Senator Shaheen said, ‘We have heard in our office directly from other countries in Eastern and Central Europe and the Baltics and many of the Nordic states, and of course, especially Ukraine, who understands that this pipeline is an effort to increase reliance on Russia, among Europe. And I would argue that this does nothing to strengthen the Transatlantic Alliance. The Nord Stream 2 pipeline, in fact, it actually decreases support for the Alliance.'
"Here's what Senator Coons from Delaware said: ‘I, like many of us have been to Ukraine, remain gravely concerned about Russia's ongoing aggression against Ukraine. And the ways in which Russia finances its aggression through the use of its sole remaining export of any interest, which is energy.'
‘Senator Menendez was right. Senator Shaheen was right. Senator Coons was right. That consensus has held for over two years, Democrats and Republicans, even through the Biden administration's catastrophic decision to greenlight the pipeline, and to give a multibillion dollar gift to Vladimir Putin. This issue was central to a June 8 meeting of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee after Biden had defied U.S. law and given a multibillion dollar gift to Putin.
"Here's what Senator Menendez said after Biden act, ‘I think many of us on a bipartisan basis, we're deeply concerned about the administration's decisions to waive sanctions on Nord Stream 2 AG. I would have thought that what are the most significant ways to show strength is to ensure that the pipeline is killed.'
"Mr. President, Senator Menendez was right. Senator Merkley even condemned the pipeline for issues he said, ‘were directly related to climate change,' which is something Biden officials claim is utterly sacrosanct in this administration, the consensus even after the Biden administration formally announced that it had struck a deal surrendering entirely to Russia on the pipeline. Nonetheless, we saw the bipartisan consensus remain on July 21.
"Senator Kaine said, ‘I'm not happy about it. I'm not happy about it in terms of Russian politics, and I'm not happy about it in terms of climate change.' Senator Kaine was right.
"Senator Shaheen said she was, ‘skeptical that the agreement will be sufficient when the key player at the table, Russia, refuses to play by the rules.' Senator Shaheen was right. She was right to be skeptical that the agreement from the Biden administration mind you will be sufficient when the key player at the table, Russia, refuses to play by the rules."
"When I first authored the bipartisan sanctions to stop Nord Stream 2 the Russian disinformation campaign in Europe was predicated on the proposition the pipeline is 90 percent complete. And they said, ‘Gosh, you can't stop it. There's nothing you can do to stop it.' They halted construction of the pipeline 15 minutes before our bipartisan sanctions were signed into law. For over a year, the pipeline laid dormant as a hunk of metal in the bottom of the sea. So every time the Biden administration says it was too far along, we couldn't stop it. You know what it was just as far along in December of 2019, and we stopped it then. It was just as far along in January of 2020, and we stopped it then. We stopped it in February. We stopped it in March, April, May, June, July, August, September, October, November, December. It wasn't until January 24, four days after Joe Biden took the oath of office, that Russia resumed building the Nord Stream 2 pipeline. The only reason they couldn't stop it is because Joe Biden wanted to surrender to Putin. Because the answer is Republicans and Democrats in this chamber had stopped it for over a year until Joe Biden came in and turned victory into defeat."
"But in between January and this month the Russian efforts built the pipeline, they just announced it's complete. So now we should surrender, right? There's nothing that can be done about? Well, that, in fact is not true. That is a second wave of disinformation. Now, why is that true? That's not true. Because before the pipeline can go online, there are a series of certifications that are required. Nord Stream 2 AG, the company that's responsible for planning construction and eventual operation of Nord Stream 2 needs to be granted formal permission as a gas transmitter. There are many regulatory hurdles in their way, hurdles that have not yet been cleared."
"Secretary Blinken said that, ‘It was too late to stop the joining of those pipes. Its operation is another matter.' Well, Secretary Blinken was wrong that it was too late to stop the joining of the pipe because we stopped them for over a year until Biden surrendered to Putin. But he wasn't wrong when he said we can still stop the operation of it. Given these requirements in this timeline, the path for America is obvious. We should sanction Nord Stream 2 AG, the parent company of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline."
"In May, President Biden transmitted a report to Congress that acknowledged, yes, he was obliged to impose sanctions on Nord Stream 2 AG for violating the sanctions that Congress had passed, and passed overwhelmingly. But instead of imposing those mandatory sanctions on Nord Stream 2 AG, given the clear and unequivocal intent of Congress, the Biden administration chose instead to waive them. It was a disastrous decision. It was a decision based on weakness and capitulation to Russia, and it hurt our friends and allies in Europe, and it hurt the United States of America. It's a decision that can be reversed right now. The pipeline, if this pipeline goes into effect, will be the Biden Putin pipeline. It doesn't have to be."
"Senate Democrats are scared to stand up to a Democratic president. I can tell you when we had a Republican president, President Trump, there were some of the Trump administration that resisted these bipartisan sanctions. And as a Republican, I was perfectly willing to stand up to a Republican administration for those who are resisting these sanctions, and press them hard. So my request to my Democratic colleagues is show that you actually believe what you said in 2019 and 2020 and 2021. Show that you care about U.S. national security. Let's stand together, and let's reclaim that bipartisan consensus we've had for two years that Nord Stream 2 is bad for America and bad for our allies."