Biden's 'Failed Policy' on Russian Pipeline Is Gift to Putin, Republicans Say

Nord Stream 2 pipeline construction / Getty Images
August 18, 2021

A memo by Senate and House lawmakers hammers the Biden administration for its failure to sanction Russia over the Nord Stream 2 pipeline.

House Foreign Affairs Committee Republicans, led by Michael McCaul (Texas), and Senate Foreign Relations Committee Republicans, led by Jim Risch (Idaho), argued in a memo obtained by the Washington Free Beacon that the Biden administration's decision not to enforce sanctions on Russia allowed the Putin regime to continue construction on the pipeline.

"If the pipeline is operationalized, it will be as a result of the Biden Admin.'s failed policy of comprehensive sanctions enforcement and sanctions waivers," the memo reads. "The deal mistakenly assumes the Kremlin will not only honor its current gas transit agreement with Ukraine through 2024, but also abandon its history of using energy as a geopolitical weapon. But that ignores lessons of recent history."

The push to raise attention on the pipeline comes as Nord Stream 2 nears completion. Construction on the pipeline is set to be completed on August 23. President Biden and German chancellor Angela Merkel inked an agreement in July that allows the project to go forward, even though multiple American allies and partners, including Ukraine, Poland, and the Baltic countries, opposed the pipeline.

"The pipeline would also endanger other transatlantic allies and partners by allowing Russia to manipulate prices and supply to pressure its customers to make political concessions," the Republicans' memo reads.

Other Republicans have also voiced their opposition to Nord Stream 2 and other Biden policies on Russia. Sen. Ted Cruz (Texas) has said he will block State Department nominees until the administration assures him it will carry out legally mandated sanctions on Russia.

The memo comes as the Biden administration stalls the modernization of the U.S. nuclear arsenal, a plan some experts say is worrisome in light of China and Russia's rapidly expanding nuclear programs.

President Biden has also failed to retrieve wrongfully convicted Marine veterans Trevor Reed and Paul Whelan, who face brutal conditions in Russian prisons. Reed, who has been in Russian custody for two years, was recently sent to a Soviet-era gulag.