Ted Cruz Will Stop Blocking Biden Nominees After Nord Stream 2 Sanctions

Texas Senator Ted Cruz showed his support for President Joe Biden's sanctions on the Nord Stream 2 pipeline with his office shortly after announcing Cruz would lift his hold on Biden's nominees for the State Department.

Cruz had been delaying the nominees due to his concerns about the "national security issue" created by allowing the pipeline's construction to continue, telling the Texas Tribune it was "strengthening Russia and weakening Europe and our allies."His lift on the nominee hold will likely mean dozens of people will soon receive Senate confirmation.

The pipeline would span from Russia to Germany, heating about 26 million German homes, Newsweek previously reported. Though it would double the capacity of the current Nord 1 pipeline, it would also bypass Ukraine, costing the country the $2 billion Russia is currently paying it to send gas through its land via Nord 1.

Though Cruz was not able to completely block the State Department nominations, his objections forced the Senate into voting for each member, a time-consuming process, the Tribune added.

While under the Trump administration, Congress had imposed sanctions on the pipeline in 2017, 2019 and 2020, according to the Tribune. However, Biden dropped the sanctions in July 2021 in an attempt to improve relations with Germany, causing the backlash from Cruz.

Biden backtracked on this decision on Wednesday, when he announced the United States would sanction Nord Stream 2 AG, the company in charge of the pipeline, as well as its corporate officers, according to Newsweek's live Russia-Ukraine updates.

In a statement, Cruz said Biden "made the right decision today."

"Allowing Putin's Nord Stream 2 to come online would have created multiple, cascading and acute security crises for the United States and our European allies for generations to come," Cruz said. "Today's announcement is critical to preventing such scenarios."

Among the nominees that can soon stop waiting to hear whether they have been confirmed are potential new ambassadors to France, India and NATO, according to the Tribune.

On Tuesday, Germany announced it would stop certification of the pipeline. In a statement, Biden said Russian President Vladimir Putin's actions have given the world an "overwhelming incentive" to find non-Russian energy sources.

"These steps are another piece of our initial tranche of sanctions in response to Russia's actions in Ukraine," Biden said. "As I have made clear, we will not hesitate to take further steps if Russia continues to escalate."

In his statement, Cruz said now that the pipeline has been sanctioned, more steps need to be taken to help Ukraine.

"Putin believes that Nord Stream 2's activation is a fait accompli now that it has been physically completed, and that any barriers or sanctions are only temporary," he said. "His aggression toward Ukraine is based on that assessment, and the only way to change his decision calculus is to convince him Nord Stream 2 will never come online."

Update 02/23/22 5:40 p.m. ET: This story was updated to add more information.

Ted Cruz
Senator Ted Cruz's office said he will lift his hold on Joe Biden's state department nominees. Above, Cruz speaks during a press conference on Capitol Hill on February 9 in Washington, D.C. Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images