(Washington, DC) – U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on Europe and Regional Security Cooperation, issued the following statement after voting against Senator Cruz’s Nord Stream 2 legislation earlier today. The legislation failed to garner enough votes to pass the Senate:
“My position on the Nord Stream 2 pipeline has never wavered: it should not be completed or become operational at the risk of being weaponized by the Kremlin. I’ve led action over the years to stop the pipeline, including my partnership with Senator Cruz on sanctions that were included in the fiscal year 2021 defense bill and led to a halt in construction of the pipeline. Yesterday, I joined Senator Menendez and Senate Democrats on comprehensive legislation that would carry the same amount of weight and deterrent, without including provisions like those in Senator Cruz’s legislation that both undermine diplomacy at work and risk obstructing Senate business. Most critically: our legislation responds to the political crisis we are facing today with regard to Russia’s increased aggression and provocations – not the situation we were dealing with years ago when our efforts to stop Nord Stream 2 first began,” said Shaheen.
Shaheen continued, “The path Democrats are proposing would impose significant punitive consequences against Putin for continued malign activity that threatens Ukraine, increase military aid for Ukraine to defend itself and maintain the position that Nord Stream 2 should not be completed or become operational. These are also all policies that Republicans support. While I appreciate the intent of Senator Cruz’s legislation, it not only fails to respond to the current situation of the pipeline – which has led to a pause in certification by the new German government due to the Biden administration’s diplomatic efforts – but it would create a burdensome process in the Senate that risks further encumbering important legislative business. For too long, this kind of obstruction hindered our national security with the unprecedented holds on key ambassadorial nominations, including pivotal assignments to the European Union and NATO. Senator Cruz’s tactics created national security risks in the very region we are looking to address. We cannot allow that obstruction to resume.”
Shaheen concluded, “This is not a question of whether to stop the pipeline – that is clear and agreed upon by Democrats and Republicans. The question is how. The legislation Democrats are proposing addresses the full scope of both the threat we face and the punitive response that is required to swiftly punish Putin should he continue to violate Ukraine’s territorial integrity. We need a united effort at this critical moment in support of European security and our broader global stability. I urge Senate Republicans to reaffirm our bipartisan determination to assist Ukraine and stand with us in holding Putin to account.”
Yesterday, Shaheen helped introduce the Defending Ukraine Sovereignty Act of 2022, which would impose crippling sanctions on the Russian banking sector and senior military and government officials if President Putin escalates hostile action in or against Ukraine.
Senator Shaheen has long led efforts in the Senate to hold Russia accountable for its malign activity against the U.S. and our allies. Because of her role as a negotiator on Russia sanctions legislation known as “CAATSA” and her successful efforts to ban Kaspersky Lab software from operating on U.S. systems, Shaheen was sanctioned by the Kremlin in 2017. Shaheen co-authored Nord Stream 2-related legislation designed to halt construction of the pipeline in order to preserve Europe’s energy independence and prevent Vladimir Putin from spreading the Kremlin’s malign influence throughout the region. This bipartisan bill mandated targeted sanctions on vessels involved in installing Russia's Nord Stream 2 pipeline. It was signed into law in 2019 as part of the fiscal year (FY) 2020 National Defense Authorization Act. Shaheen built on her work in the FY21 NDAA that became law by adding a provision that further clarifies those sanctions, which target companies working with the Russian vessels sent to complete the pipeline. The Senator’s previous bipartisan effort led to a freeze in the construction of the pipeline.
Senator Shaheen is also a member of the Senate Ukraine Caucus. In June, Shaheen led a bipartisan group of lawmakers to Eastern Europe, including Ukraine, to underscore the United States’ commitment to Ukraine as it works to achieve its pro-democratic aspirations. Last month, Shaheen helped lead a bipartisan resolution expressing support for an independent and democratic Ukraine—one that is secure against further Russian military aggression. In December, Shaheen authored an op-ed in the Washington Post with Senator Rob Portman (R-OH) on the bipartisan commitment in Congress to stand with Ukraine amid Russia’s provocations and aggression, an actionable items that the Biden administration can take to address the current situation.