Democrat Chuck Schumer and Republican Ted Cruz have agreed to vote on more than 36 appointees for political appointments and senior roles; this comes in return for a vote on new punishments against Russia’s Nord Stream 2 project.
There was a deal made on the morning of December 18, Politico says. Cruz won’t be able to stop them from being confirmed. He is blocking them because he doesn’t like Joe Biden’s choice to remove restrictions on the pipeline.
After months of impasse, the Senate finally confirmed ~3 dozen US ambassador nominees last night. It came after Sen. Ted Cruz agreed to lift his blanket hold on State nominees, centering on a feud with Biden on Biden’s policy over a Russian gas pipeline project, Nord Stream 2
— Robbie Gramer (@RobbieGramer) December 18, 2021
Revoked Pipeline Sanction
A pipeline under the sea from Russia to Germany called Nord Stream 2 lets Russia get around Ukraine. If it runs, Ukraine could lose a lot of money in transit fees each year; it could also lose a powerful tool to fight back against Russian aggression.
In May, Biden rescinded sanctions against Nord Stream 2 because the pipeline was almost done and he didn’t wish to hurt his chances of repairing relations with Germany, which desired the pipeline.
Congress previously approved sanctions against Nord Stream 2. On July 20, Biden and Merkel made a deal on Nord Stream 2. Nevertheless, if Nord Stream 2 is utilized as a political tool, the US can put sanctions on Russia.
Senator Ted Cruz was very against this deal. The Texas senator said he would use all of his power to prevent the Nord Stream 2 venture. Cruz said if the pipeline was built, it would give Russia billions that they could use to do bad things in Europe and all over the world.
Numerous important shortlists have been held up by Cruz because he tried to stop the Senate from confirming people by unanimous consent. He took up a lot of time on the Senate floor by having to vote on each appointment. This slowed down the Senate’s job.
A lot of Democrat senators said Cruz’s behavior was hurting the United States’ national defense. Sen. Chris Coons said Cruz’s actions were irrational and called on Republicans to stop blocking nominees. The Biden government declared it was causing a lot of problems with jobs.
Importance of the Sanctions
Cruz consented to let Schumer table a decision on new Nord Stream 2 restrictions until after Jan. 14. He said if the bill gets passed through the Senate, he will remove all of his blocks on nominations and let them go.
Update: U.S. Senate to vote in January on sanctioning the Nord Stream 2 pipeline.
— EndGameWW3 (@EndGameWW3) December 19, 2021
Cruz’s bill would have to get at least a 60 majority to pass the Senate, which now has 50 Democrats and 50 Republicans. The bill will reinstate punishments put in place under early regulations.
During this time, Ukraine is in danger. In the last few months, Russia has put about 100,000 troops on the frontiers of Ukraine and in areas it already occupied. They are preparing for an attack in the first two months of 2022.
The U.S. talked with Germany, France, Italy, and the United Kingdom about what to do if Russia invades. Nord Stream 2 has been shut down as well.
In addition, Russian companies may not be able to participate in global capital markets; they may be hit with specific tax sanctions, and Russia may be cut off from the SWIFT global banking payment platform.