U.S. Senator John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) delivered remarks on the Senate floor on the Biden administration’s unwillingness to act and fully sanction Russia’s Nord Stream 2 pipeline.
Excerpts from Senator Barrasso’s Remarks:
“I come up to join and add my voice to that of Senator Cruz, the senator from Texas, about Joe Biden’s surrender to Vladimir Putin.
“Energy is called the master resource for a reason. It powers our country, military, nation, and the economy.
“Yet, Joe Biden on his first day in office seemed to take us from a nation of energy dominance to energy dependence, canceling the Keystone X.L. Pipeline and now approving this pipeline, Nord Stream 2.
“I come to add my voice to the many who have spoken out against the president — in expressing our deep concerns about this administration’s unwillingness to fully sanction the Nord Stream 2 pipeline and to allow it to move ahead.
“I’m sure Senator Cruz, as part of his discussion this afternoon, will talk about the confirmation hearing of Tony Blinken to be Secretary of State.
“We asked him specifically about the pipeline and he said he would stop it even though it was down to the last 100 yards, they would stop it.
“That’s not what happened. We saw Joe Biden surrender.
“For years we’ve been sounding the alarm about this Russian trap. This pipeline, who built it? Gazprom. Who are they? They are the Russian state owned natural gas monopoly.
“We all heard in the past Senator McCain talk about Russia acting as a gas station. At one time he went on to say that Russia was a mafia-run gas company disguised as a country.
“The dangerous pipeline is going to double the amount of Russian natural gas going to Germany via the Baltic Sea.
“Completion of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline is going to further tighten its grip on European gas supplies and extend the threatening influence because, energy is the master resource.
“We know Russia uses energy to coerce, to manipulate. They use it as a geopolitical weapon. They coerce and manipulate our allies and our partners in Europe.
“Many of our NATO allies, Germany in particular, are becoming dependent upon and addicted to Russian gas.
“Europe already gets 40% to 45% of its gas imports from Russia. The new export pipeline helps Russia undermine Europe’s efforts to diversify energy sources, suppliers, as well as the routes.
“Nord Stream 2 makes Europe more energy dependent on Russia and of course more prone to Russian influence.
“At the same time it’s going to further fuel Russian aggression, Russian intimidation, and Russian instability across Europe.
“Putin is a powerful foe who aims to divide Europe and to destroy the NATO alliance. He’s been broadcasting those plans. This is not a surprise.
“The Nord Stream 2 pipeline would mean a massive money transfer from our NATO allies straight into the Kremlin’s coffers.
“This means more resources to put towards Russia’s destabilizing activities. We continue to see an increase in these destabilizing activities.
“Russia occupies territory in Ukraine, Georgia, and Moldova.
“Russia launched a military build-up on Ukraine’s border.
“Russia poisoned a political opposition leader.
“Russian hackers are creating economic chaos by disrupting American supply chains.
“Russia’s could use these cash reserves. In what way? A way to fund aggression in Europe and around the world.
“It’s interesting, Putin even funds environmental activists in Europe to shut down energy where they would be exploring for natural gas and oil.
“He wants environmental activists to protest any efforts for European countries to develop their own gas resources so he can hold them hostage in this way as well.
“Well, President Biden’s weakness on Putin’s pipeline is going to have serious consequences, not just the financial ones for Russia, not just those in Europe, but worldwide.
“And for our security and for the security of our allies, I believe we must stop this Nord Stream 2 pipeline.
“That’s why Congress has overwhelmingly, this body, passed several pieces of bipartisan legislation.
“People say to me can’t you do anything in a bipartisan way in Congress anymore? I say well, we certainly did when it came to the Nord Stream 2 pipeline.
“We passed bipartisan legislation imposing sanctions on this very project. Yet this administration, the Biden administration, the surrendering Biden administration, is unwilling to implement the laws that are on the books.
“President Biden waived congressionally mandated sanctions on Nord Stream 2 A.G., which is the company overseeing the pipeline construction.
“By using a national interest waiver, this administration gave Russia the green light to speed ahead to completion of this pipeline.
“There is strong opposition to President Biden’s deliberate failure to follow the law when it comes to this pipeline and the supply of energy from Russia to Europe.
“On March 3rd of this year, I led a group of 40 senators in sending a letter outlining our concerns.
“On this letter signed by 40 senators, we called out the Biden administration for refusing to impose sanctions on entities involved in the construction of this very pipeline.
“The letter says ‘the failure of this administration to identify and impose new sanctions signals its willingness to allow President Putin to gain a stranglehold over Europe’s gas supply and increase its geopolitical leverage.’
“We called on the administration to correct its misguided actions by quickly and fully implementing the sanctions mandated by U.S. law.
“ It’s been over six months, and President Biden still refuses to follow the law.
“Through his inaction, President Biden is gifting Russia a new geopolitical weapon.
“One of the things I found most astonishing, in terms of this administration taking us from energy dominance to energy dependence, is what happened just last month.
“The Biden administration seeing the impact of rising energy costs, rising gasoline costs, people in Wyoming paying more than $25 extra every time they fill their tank compared to the day that President Biden came into office.
“His National Security Advisor actually went to say we need to ask OPEC-Plus to produce more oil, more energy. Who is OPEC-Plus? It is Saudi Arabia and it is Russia.
“On our Energy Committee of which I’m the ranking member Senator Murkowski, the senator from Alaska, came to the committee and told members of the committee that currently the United States is using more energy produced from Russia than it is from her home state of Alaska.
“What does that tell you about this administration and the commitment of this administration to energy needs in our own country?
“It is very disturbing to see the president act in such a reckless way regarding our nation, our economy, our energy security, and continuing to give gifts like this to our enemies.
“It is much better to sell energy to our friends than have to buy energy from our enemies.
“But that’s what appeared on the White House website. Put there by the National Security Advisor to the president just last month, asking Saudi Arabia and OPEC-Plus to produce more energy to help lower the cost at the pump for people in the United States, here at home.
“Why do you think we haven’t, Mr. President? We killed the Keystone X.L. Pipeline.
“Put a long-standing moratorium on oil and federal lands. Which there still has not been a lease sale since the day you signed that executive order and the day you came into office.
“We need to force the president to act on this critical issue of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline.
“Yesterday, the U.S. House of Representatives, with Nancy Pelosi as the Speaker of the House, passed an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act imposing new mandatory sanctions on Nord Stream 2.
“It would repeal the national interest waiver for sanctions under existing law. This is an incredibly important step, and I would look forward to it quickly becoming law.
“Protecting this Russian trap that they have laid for the Germans and for Europe, the noose around the neck, the Nord Stream 2 pipeline – it is in our national security interest to block that, but yet this administration is not doing it, and I believe it’s a grave mistake on the part of this administration.
“While President Biden has failed to do the right thing, there is still time. The administration can reverse course and fully sanction the Nord Stream 2 pipeline.
“If President Biden refuses, Congress is prepared to take strong actions to protect the energy security of our nation and our allies.
“I thank Senator Cruz for allowing me to join in support of the comments that he’s making. We have been wonderful partners, and other members on the floor, in a bipartisan way, with a specific focus on what is happening with Russia and its efforts to undermine the United States, to undermine NATO, and to try to reestablish the former Soviet Union, which Vladimir Putin has stated is his goal all along.”