14 Oct. 2021 21:48
Various media reports on a US senator who is delaying the filling of important positions in US departments in order to get the White House to impose new sanctions on Nord Stream 2. However, the government under US President Joe Biden rejects this.
As long as Joe Biden remains US President, the White House will not impose sanctions on Nord Stream 2. This position will not be changed by the controversy with US Senator Ted Cruz, who is delaying the admission of candidates for posts in the US State Department and the Treasury Department in order to induce Washington to impose new sanctions on the pipeline. This reported Politico with reference to unspecified sources. Even Reuters announced that Biden’s government disagrees with Cruz’s demands.
As Reuters explained, the nominations for official positions in the Senate are not in question and can be pushed through in order to accelerate the start of work. Treasury officials can be expedited, as can numerous candidates for ambassadorial posts. However, this requires the consent of all 100 US senators. Ted Cruz, Republican Senator in the US state of Texas, was the only one to refuse to approve.
Citing statistics noted Reuters notes that since Biden took office, the appointment of the government members he has nominated has been slower than under the three previous US presidents. The Senate approved 191 von Biden’s nominations, representing about 36 percent of the proposed candidates, compared with 42 percent of Donald Trump’s nominations over the same period, 68 percent of Barack Obama’s nominations, and 65 percent of George W. Bush’s nominations. Of the 20 seats in the Treasury that were to be filled with new officials, only four have been allocated. Politico noted that Biden’s ambassadorial candidates wait an average of 98 days for official appointment. Under Trump, the candidates waited 77 days, under Obama it was an average of 66 days.
At the beginning of October reported the New York Timesthat Cruz delayed the approval of dozens of State Department candidates, including 59 potential ambassadors. Treasury Department spokesman John Rizzo said the Senate is still unable to approve key candidates who are vital to ensuring national security, curbing illegal funding and fighting terrorism.
A senator cannot ban the appointment of a particular candidate, but he can turn the approval process into hours of discussion. In this way, Senator Cruz is also obstructing the work of the entire Congress by distracting the Senators from discussing other pressing issues. Senate Finance Committee Chairman Ron Wyden said:
“Senator Cruz just makes it difficult to run the government.”
Bob Menendez, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, described Cruz’s actions as undermining national security and said he had never seen anything like it in his 30 years of foreign affairs in Congress.
Cruz himself stressed that he would change his behavior as soon as the Joe Biden government imposed new sanctions on Nord Stream 2. In his opinion, this is required under US law. A spokesman for Cruz said the Texas senator will use whatever pressure he can to force Biden to impose binding sanctions on Nord Stream 2. In August, Cruz openly stated that he would postpone the nomination of all candidates for the State Department.
According to data from Politico and Reuters Senior Treasury officials and Biden’s national security adviser Jake Sullivan tried to influence Cruz, but to no avail. Despite these difficulties, the White House has no intention of imposing any new sanctions on the pipeline.
At the end of May, Biden had described the imposition of new restrictions on the pipeline as unproductive for US-EU relations. White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki said it was difficult for the White House to prevent Nord Stream 2 from being completed. She stated that the US could not stop the project, which was 95 percent built in another country.
more on the subject – Dispute over Nord Stream 2: Zelensky calls Russian gas “the dirtiest in the world”