cloudy.png
Thursday January 20th, 2022 4:01PM

Democrats push rival bill sanctioning Russia over Ukraine

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

WASHINGTON (AP) — Senate Democrats proposed new sanctions against Russia on Wednesday if it invades Ukraine, looking to derail a Republican proposal that the White House fears could undermine unity with European allies.

The Democrats' proposal is meant to give them White House-backed legislation to demonstrate their support for Ukraine’s sovereignty and heighten U.S. promises of financial pain for Russia, which has staged tens of thousands of troops along Ukraine's borders. The Democratic bill opens the door for more penalties related to the Russia-to-Germany Nord Stream 2 natural gas pipeline if Russia invades Ukraine.

“This legislation makes it absolutely clear that the U.S. Senate will not stand idly by as the Kremlin threatens a re-invasion of Ukraine,” Democratic Sen. Robert Menendez, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said in a statement laying out the Democrats’ sanctions legislation.

The Biden administration and Democratic leaders also are aiming to head off any Democratic votes in the Senate for rival legislation by Republican Sen. Ted Cruz. Cruz's legislation would heap new sanctions on operators of the pipeline whether or not Russia invades. Nord Stream 2 has been built but has not yet gone into operation.

Cruz's legislation is due for a Senate vote this week. Its prospects are uncertain. It would need at least 10 Democratic votes to pass the chamber and it's not clear if it would be brought to a vote in the Democratic-controlled House.

Republicans have portrayed top Democratic opposition to Cruz's bill as President Joe Biden and other Democrats showing weakness against Russian President Vladimir Putin. It's a sharp political point given Democratic criticism that President Donald Trump was too deferential to the Russian leader.

White House and Democratic lobbying of Democratic lawmakers against his bill works “to the benefit of Putin. While Russian tanks prepare to invade,” Cruz tweeted this week.

The Biden administration argues Cruz's proposal could harm relations with valued ally Germany, which like the rest of Europe is dependent on imported natural gas. Passage of Cruz’s legislation would risk splitting what administration officials insist is a united front among the U.S. and its European allies on punishing Russia if it invades. Democrats say the rift would strengthen Putin’s hand.

The Democratic measure would target Putin, his civilian and military leaders and leading Russian financial institutions. It is less immediately aggressive against Nord Stream 2 than Cruz's bill, saying that the United States “should consider all available and appropriate measures to prevent the Nord Stream 2 pipeline from becoming operational.”

The pipeline would double the volume of gas pumped by Russian state-owned gas giant Gazprom directly to Germany. Running under the Baltic Sea, it bypasses existing links through Poland and Ukraine. Gazprom argues it would make long-term supply more reliable.

Pipeline critics say it increases Russia’s leverage over Europe, pits member states against one another and deprives Ukraine and Poland of billions earned from transit fees. Europe went into winter with scant gas reserves, which has sent prices soaring to eight times what they were at the start of 2021. Putin has used that supply crunch to help make his push for final German and European approval of the project.

The head of the International Energy Agency on Wednesday blamed Russia for worsening Europe’s natural gas crisis, saying the high prices and low storage levels largely stem from the behavior of Gazprom.

U.S. and allies have begun to work on contingency plans should Russia move to cut off Ukraine and others from gas supplies, according to a person familiar with planning who was not authorized to comment publicly and spoke Wednesday on condition of anonymity. Currently, there are above average inventories in Asia. Norway, the Netherlands, Italy and Qatar are other suppliers that could step in to fill the breach.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken has said he believes it extremely unlikely Germany would begin operation of the pipeline if Russia does invade Ukraine, whose government has been eager to ally with the West. Germany's new government has not given a definitive public answer on that point.

National Security Council spokeswoman Emily Horne argued Wednesday that imposing new sanctions over Nord Stream 2 regardless of whether Russia invades, as Cruz's bill would, removes the leverage that the threat of that sanction provides.

“We support Senator Menendez’s legislation, which would trigger severe costs to Russia’s economy if Russia further invades Ukraine, just like President Biden and our allies and partners have made clear we will do,” Horne said.

——

David McHugh contributed from Frankfurt, Germany.

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP Online Headlines - Washington, AP Online Congress News, AP Business, AP Business - Industries, AP Business - Utilities
© Copyright 2022 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Democrats push rival bill sanctioning Russia over Ukraine
Senate Democrats are proposing new sanctions against Russia if it invades Ukraine
1:04PM ( 9 minutes ago )
Kentucky's Tshiebwe wants 'my name to be remembered forever'
Kentucky’s offense now runs through big man Oscar Tshiebwe
1:02PM ( 12 minutes ago )
Djokovic acknowledges error on Australian travel declaration
Novak Djokovic has acknowledged that his Australian travel declaration form contained incorrect information, and he also confessed to an “error of judgment” in taking part in an interview and photo shoot in Serbia last month after testing positive for COVID-19
12:48PM ( 25 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
'Legendary leader' Harry Reid lies in state at US Capitol
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi calls the late Sen. Harry Reid a “legendary leader” as the Nevada Democrat is being praised at a private service at the U.S. Capitol
11:54AM ( 1 hour ago )
Former Senate leader Harry Reid lies in state at Capitol
The casket of former Sen. Harry Reid is lying in state at the U.S. Capitol as colleagues and friends gather to pay tribute to a hardscrabble Democrat who served five terms in the Senate and rose to be majority leader
11:04AM ( 2 hours ago )
Liberals in EU parliament seek inquiry on abuse of spyware
The third-largest group in the European Parliament has called for the establishment of a committee to investigate abuses by European Union governments with powerful spyware produced by Israel’s NSO Group
10:35AM ( 2 hours ago )
AP Online Headlines - Washington
Universal health care bill advances in California Assembly
California Democrats have taken their first step toward creating a universal health care system
11:55PM ( 13 hours ago )
Biden challenges Senate on voting: 'Tired of being quiet!'
President Joe Biden is challenging senators to “stand against voter suppression,” urging them to change Senate rules in order to pass voting rights legislation that Republicans are blocking from debate and votes
10:22PM ( 14 hours ago )
Democrat Cherfilus-McCormick to fill Florida US House seat
Democrat Sheila Cherfilus-McCormick will fill Florida’s vacant U.S. House seat
9:56PM ( 15 hours ago )
AP Online Congress News
Spain doctors win suit for lack of protection from COVID-19
Spain’s medical community has scored a victory after a court ordered that a regional government compensate doctors with up to 49,000 euros ($56,000) for having to work without personal protection suits during the devastating early months of the pandemic
11:46AM ( 1 hour ago )
Stocks rise as inflation report keeps rate hikes on track
Stocks eased off of early gains, but still edged higher in midday trading on Wall Street Wednesday after the latest report of surging prices appeared to keep the Federal Reserve on track to raise interest rates later this year
11:45AM ( 1 hour ago )
UK's Johnson apologizes for attending party during lockdown
Prime Minister Boris Johnson has apologized for attending a garden party during Britain’s first coronavirus lockdown, but brushed aside demands that he resign for breaching the rules his own government had imposed on the nation
11:25AM ( 1 hour ago )
AP Business
Biogen tumbles after Medicare lays out Aduhelm coverage plan
Shares of Biogen tumbled Wednesday, a day after regulators slapped strict limitations on coverage the drugmaker’s new Alzheimer’s disease treatment
9:37AM ( 3 hours ago )
Energy monitor blames Russia for worsening Europe gas crisis
The head of the International Energy Agency has blamed Russia for worsening Europe’s natural gas crisis
8:36AM ( 4 hours ago )
Energy monitor blames Russia for European gas crisis
The head of the International Energy Agency has blamed Russia for much of Europe’s natural gas crisis
8:08AM ( 5 hours ago )
AP Business - Industries
Germany faces 'gigantic' task meeting energy, climate goals
Germany’s new climate minister said Tuesday that the country faces a “gigantic” task if it wants to achieve its goals for reducing greenhouse gas emissions while ensuring sufficient energy for its energy-hungry industry
8:09AM ( 1 day ago )
European shares rise, Asia declines, eyeing Fed, omicron
European benchmarks have risen after Asian shares mostly declined following a retreat on Wall Street
4:40AM ( 1 day ago )
California governor proposes tax cuts, expanded health care
Gov. Gavin Newsom wants to make California the first state to cover all low-income state residents under its Medicaid plan regardless of their immigration status
8:46PM ( 1 day ago )
AP Business - Utilities
Kentucky's Tshiebwe wants 'my name to be remembered forever'
Kentucky’s offense now runs through big man Oscar Tshiebwe
1:02PM ( 12 minutes ago )
Djokovic acknowledges error on Australian travel declaration
Novak Djokovic has acknowledged that his Australian travel declaration form contained incorrect information, and he also confessed to an “error of judgment” in taking part in an interview and photo shoot in Serbia last month after testing positive for COVID-19
12:48PM ( 25 minutes ago )
Biden redoubling focus on testing amid shortages, confusion
The Biden administration is increasing federal support for COVID-19 testing for schools in a bid to keep them open amid the omicron surge
12:33PM ( 41 minutes ago )
Biden to huddle with Senate Democrats on voting bills
President Joe Biden is set to meet privately with Senate Democrats at the Capitol, a visit intended to deliver a jolt to the party’s long-stalled voting and elections legislation
12:25PM ( 48 minutes ago )
Giuffre's Prince Andrew suit goes ahead despite Epstein deal
A judge has given the green light to a lawsuit by an American woman who says Prince Andrew sexually abused her when she was 17
12:24PM ( 50 minutes ago )