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Der Streit um die Ostsee-Pipeline Nord Stream 2 führt in den USA zu politischen Verwerfungen. Foto: Stefan Sauer/dpa Foto: dpa

The United States: The dispute over Nord Stream 2 delays the US defense budget

The dispute over the Nord Stream 2 pipeline in the Baltic Sea has led to political unrest in the United States. Photo: Stefan Sauer / dpa Photo: dpa

The controversial construction of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline is also causing political unrest abroad. Republicans in the US Senate oppose and block a vote on the defense budget.

WASHINGTON – A row over sanctions against the Baltic Sea pipeline Nord Stream 2 has contributed to a temporary blockade of the US defense budget for next year.

US Senate Republicans blocked the vote on the Defense Budget Package (NDAA) Monday night (local time) using procedural rules. Republican minority leader Mitch McConnell justified the move by the fact that Democrats refused to include a change to Nord Stream 2 in the package. After the change, US President Joe Biden will not have the option to exempt US sanctions due to Nord Stream 2 on national security grounds.

Schumer: Siege ‘unheard of’

With the amendment of the law, many Republican senators want to block the operation of the pipeline, which is supposed to transport gas from Russia to Germany bypassing Ukraine. The Democrat Biden had issued special permits (a “presidential waiver”) in May that spared Switzerland-based Nord Stream 2AG and its German general manager from US sanctions.

The Democrats’ majority leader, Chuck Schumer, criticized the blockade as “unheard of”. “Democrats will continue to work to ensure that our soldiers are paid and that our vital defense programs can continue,” Schumer said. McConnell accused Schumer of delaying the package bid and trying to prevent controversy over “Russian aggression,” for example. Nord Stream 2 was described as “the pipeline that drove Putin’s conquest of Europe”. Democrats need the votes of many Republicans in order to put the defense budget to a vote in the Senate.

Diplomatic consequences

If the new regulation that the Republicans are seeking is issued, German-American relations will also be affected. On Sunday, the American news website Axios reported, citing confidential documents from the German embassy in Washington, that the German government had warned Congress against imposing sanctions on Nord Stream 2 – which would represent a victory for Russian President Vladimir Putin.

In the year-long feud over the project, the federal government and the Biden government announced a breakthrough in July. They published a joint statement pledging to support Ukraine. The USA criticized Nord Stream for two years. Then Biden admitted that the United States would no longer be able to block the pipeline.

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