Ted Cruz has just blocked Joe Biden’s nomination to head up the CIA in order to get the Biden administration to “stop being soft on Russia”. Here’s what’s going on:
BLOOMBERG – Senator Ted Cruz is delaying William Burns’s confirmation as CIA director to demand that the Biden administration do more to halt the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline, as Republicans seek to ramp up pressure now that construction has resumed.
The move by the Texas Republican will delay, but not stop, Burns’s path to lead the Central Intelligence Agency. Any senator can drag out the final vote, but the Senate Intelligence Committee unanimously approved Burns’s nomination, and he’s expected to win confirmation easily.
Cruz argues the administration must sanction more ships and companies that Republicans say are clearly helping with construction. He’s demanding that the State Department issue a new report — before the next one is due in less than three months — identifying entities that are subjecting themselves to sanctions by working on the pipeline that would bring natural gas from Russia to Germany.
“Senator Cruz has publicly and privately stated he will use all of his prerogatives as a senator so that the Biden administration sanctions the ships and companies building Nord Stream 2,” Cruz spokeswoman Jessica Skaggs said. “He’ll release his hold on Burns once the State Department transmits an interim report and imposes those sanctions.”
The tactic is intended to draw attention to the Republican position that the Biden administration isn’t doing enough to halt the project, despite White House assurances that it’s doing all it can.
We’ve written about this before and noted that, unlike Trump, Biden is winking at nodding at Putin to go ahead and finish the Nord Stream 2 pipeline. He’s apparently “revived the project and is now within months of finishing it”, according to Ted Cruz’s press release last month.
In a press release Cruz argued that Congress has “mandated sanctions not just against vessels installing pipes for Nord Stream 2, but against vessels that engage in related pipelaying activities, insurers of those vessels, and companies providing certification services.” Biden is legally obligated to issue these sanctions to stop the pipeline, but he isn’t doing it.
Thus Ted Cruz is blocking Biden’s nomination to head up the CIA to try and force Biden to comply with the law. He responded to the Bloomberg article a little while ago:
I’ll release my hold when the Biden admin meets its legal obligation to report and sanction the ships and companies building Putin’s pipeline.
— Ted Cruz (@tedcruz) March 5, 2021
In that same press release, Ted Cruz noted that if Russia is allowed to build this pipeline, there will be “catastrophic implications for American national security and for the energy security of our European allies.” So you can see why he’s mighty upset about Biden’s going soft on Russia.