Anti-Russian measures stripped from Pentagon bill
The new text of the Pentagon funding bill, reconciled between the US House of Representatives and the Senate, does not include sanctions against the Nord Stream 2 pipeline or a ban on Americans buying Russian debt.
Previous drafts of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for 2022 included the measures, but they are missing from the latest compromise introduced on Tuesday.
The 670-page explanatory notice for the reconciliation bill lists all the changes made from the House and Senate versions. The two anti-Russian measures, originally proposed by the Democrat-dominated House, were not included in the new draft.
While the Nord Stream 2 provision was removed, the joint statement of Congress condemned what it said were “the Russian Federation’s malign activities, including any efforts to weaponize gas supplies in order to advance its geopolitical agenda and negatively impact European allies and partners.”
Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas) insisted on sanctions against Nord Stream 2, a recently completed pipeline that is supposed to deliver natural gas from Russia to Germany, bypassing Poland and Ukraine. He has even threatened to block confirmations of Biden administration appointees unless the sanctions amendment was added to the bill and put up for a vote.
The removal of two provisions comes as US President Joe Biden held a two-hour video call with Russian President Vladimir Putin to discuss pressing issues between Washington and Moscow, including US accusations that Russia is preparing to “invade” Ukraine, which the Kremlin has called “fake news.”