Senators Urge Biden to Fully Enforce Nord Stream 2 Sanctions

Two key U.S. senators urged the Biden administration to enforce sanctions aimed at blocking the completion of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline from Russia to Germany, saying they are concerned by reports that a deal to avoid restrictions is being considered.

“Press reports that the German government has put forth an offer that would require the United States to disregard statutorily mandated sanctions have us concerned,” Idaho Republican James Risch and New Hampshire Democrat Jeanne Shaheen wrote in a letter dated Friday.

“The U.S. relationship with Germany is a cornerstone of the trans-Atlantic alliance,” the pair wrote. “But allowing the completion of Nord Stream II is not a constructive path forward for this partnership.”

Risch and Shaheen didn’t say what they were referring to but specifically, but reports have circulated in the German press in recent days that Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government sought to cut a deal with the Trump administration to let the nearly-completed pipeline be finished.

The senators also said they expect the administration to provide a congressionally-mandated report on companies involved in the pipeline’s construction by Feb. 16.

State Department spokesman Ned Price said Secretary of State Antony Blinken wants to work with Congress but declined to commit to the deadline when asked about the report on Friday.

“We certainly understand Congress’s legitimate interest in this issue,” Price said. “We are committed to that engagement with them to ensure that they have the information they need in as timely a manner as we are able to provide.”

Biden and his team have said they believe the pipeline is a bad deal and they will study any activity to see if it warrants sanctions. But they’ve shied away from threats dating to the Trump administration to sanction the German port where some ships working to complete the pipeline have docked.

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