Sen. Bill Hagerty (R., Tenn.) said that a classified briefing on Wednesday about the contested Nord Stream 2 Russian energy pipeline renewed concerns that the Biden administration is bowing to Russia, which is completing a massive energy project that Republicans worry will solidify Moscow's grip on Europe’s energy needs.
Hagerty, a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, told the Washington Free Beacon that information provided by U.S. officials in a classified setting confirmed the Biden administration will continue to ignore congressionally mandated sanctions meant to stymie the completion of Nord Stream 2. Congress, he said, will not sit by as the administration bucks the law.
"The Biden administration continues to ignore mandatory congressional sanctions that would significantly delay and even halt the Nord Stream 2 pipeline," Hagerty said. "If the Biden administration will not enforce the law in good faith, Congress will need to act very soon to counter Vladimir Putin's malign influence energy project."
The Trump administration and Congress held up completion of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline with sanctions on the companies that were building it. The Biden administration has stopped enforcing the economic penalties, effectively allowing Russia to make the pipeline operational.
"If Putin's pipeline ever goes online, Russia will further weaponize the flow of energy in Europe in order to coerce Ukraine and other European nations and reduce their sovereignty, and ultimately damage the security and prosperity of the United States and our partners," Hagerty said, echoing concerns from many other Republicans in the Senate.
Reports indicate that Russia is taking advantage of a massive gas shortage in Europe to force the European Union to expedite approvals for Nord Stream 2. If the pipeline becomes fully active, Russia will essentially control a large portion of Europe's energy, allowing it to hold supplies hostage to advance its foreign policy goals.
Hagerty also said that Wednesday's classified briefing left him "with far more questions than answers about the Biden administration's weak and submissive policy toward Vladimir Putin's malign influence energy project."