Construction work on the Baltic Sea pipeline (archive image)
Photo: Bernd Wüstneck / DPA
Dispute over sanctions against the Nord Stream 2 Baltic Sea pipeline contributed to the temporary blockade of the US defense budget for the coming year.
The Republicans in the US Senate prevented a vote on the Defense Budget (NDAA) package on Monday evening (local time) using procedural rules.
The Republican minority leader, Mitch McConnell, justified the move with the fact that the Democrats refused to include a change in the law on Nord Stream 2 in the package.
According to the change, US President Joe Biden will no longer have the option of exempting US sanctions due to Nord Stream 2 for reasons of national security.
With the amendment to the law, several Republican senators want to prevent the operation of the pipeline, which is supposed to bring gas from Russia to Germany bypassing Ukraine.
The Democrat Biden had issued special permits in May, with which Nord Stream 2 AG, based in Switzerland, and its German managing director were spared US sanctions.
The majority leader of the Democrats, Chuck Schumer, criticized the blockade as "unheard of".
Schumer said, "The Democrats will continue to work to ensure that our troops are paid and that our vital defense programs can continue."
McConnell accused Schumer of delaying the delivery of the package and of trying to prevent debates about "Russia's aggression", for example.
He called Nord Stream 2 "the pipeline that drives Putin's encroachment on Europe."
The Democrats need the votes of several Republicans in order for the defense budget to be put to the vote in the Senate.
The breakthrough in negotiations was announced in the summer
If the new regulation sought by the Republicans should come about, German-American relations will also suffer.
The US news website "Axios" reported on Sunday, citing confidential documents from the German embassy in Washington, that the federal government had warned Congress of sanctions in connection with Nord Stream 2 - these would represent a victory for Russian President Vladimir Putin.
In the year-long dispute over the project, the federal government and the Biden government announced a breakthrough in July.
They published a joint statement pledging support for Ukraine.
The USA had massively criticized Nord Stream for two years.
Biden then admitted that the US would no longer be able to prevent the pipeline.
jok / dpa