Monday, August 15, 2022

Nord Stream 2 vote fuels ‘Putin’s Pipeline’ ad campaign against Senate Democrats

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Senate Democrats continue to be haunted by their vote against Republican Sen. Ted Cruz’s bill to block the Nord Stream 2 pipeline.

The pro-energy group Power The Future shared with The Washington Times a digital ad campaign slamming six Senate Democrats from energy-producing states over their Jan. 13 vote against the Cruz bill, which sought to reimpose sanctions on the Russian natural-gas pipeline that President Biden had waived.

“Each one of these senators must explain to our families why they voted for Putin’s Pipeline and against their own constituents along with the Ukrainian people,” said Daniel Turner, Power The Future founder and executive director.

The ads target Democratic Sens. Martin Heinrich and Ben Ray Lujan of New Mexico; Michael Bennet and John Hickenlooper of Colorado; Sherrod Brown of Ohio; and Bob Casey of Pennsylvania.

Only Mr. Bennet will face the voters this November.

The Jan. 13 vote on the Cruz bill was 55-44, but 60 votes were needed for passage. Six Democrats crossed party lines to support the measure, S. 3436, while Sen. Rand Paul, Kentucky Republican, voted against it.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy had urged the Senate to support the Cruz bill in a Jan. 8 tweet.

Democrats who opposed the Cruz bill said they supported more comprehensive legislation introduced the day before the floor vote by Sen. Bob Menendez, New Jersey Democrat.

The Democratic alternative, S. 3488, would direct Mr. Biden to impose economic sanctions on Russia and on the Nord Stream 2 if Russian President Vladimir Putin “escalates hostile action in or against Ukraine.”

The bill has never received a vote in committee or on the floor.

Mr. Heinrich said in a Jan. 12 statement that he was “proud to support this bill as it sends Russia a clear message: escalate hostilities against Ukraine and face crippling sanctions on a wide range of sectors, including the energy industry and the Nord Stream 2 pipeline.”

The six ads are identical except for the names of the senators and their photos. The Heinrich ad shows a picture of the senator with the caption: “Senator Heinrich voted FOR Putin’s pipeline. But voted AGAINST America’s pipelines.”

The second line refers to a February 2021 vote on an amendment to the budget resolution in support of the Keystone XL pipeline, which Mr. Biden canceled by pulling the cross-border permit with Canada on his first day in office.

“These Senators had the chance to stand up to Vladimir Putin’s money-making exports and instead they all decided to display Profiles of Cowardice,” Mr. Turner said in a statement.

“It’s all well and good to express support for Ukraine on social media, but when these lawmakers had a chance to do the right thing, they failed to meet the moment,” he said.

Mr. Cruz had to broker a deal with Senate Democrats even to bring his Nord Stream 2 sanctions bill to the floor, agreeing to remove his holds on 32 State Department nominations.

Mr. Biden said Wednesday he would impose sanctions on the Nord Stream 2 project, hours before Russian troops rolled into Ukraine.

The pipeline itself has been mooted for now by Germany’s decision to halt certification, which had been expected later this year. The physical pipeline, which runs from Russia to Germany under the Baltic Sea away from any land borders, has been completed.

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