The Biden administration received some bipartisan backlash over his approval of the Russian Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline between Russia and Germany.
Now, U.S. Sen. Joni Ernst (R-IA) is signaling that there might be enough Democratic support in her chamber to block that executive order.
“We do have to push back on that”
While it is rare to see Democrats oppose the Biden administration, Ernst claims that many of her Democratic colleagues are worried that the pipeline will give Russia too much power in the region.
Specifically, critics say that it would allow Germany to bypass a current pipeline through Ukraine, thus depriving that country of revenue at a time when it is under increased threat from Russia.
“Democrats are concerned, Republicans are concerned,” the Iowa Republican said. “And what we don’t want to do is allow President Putin to continue with the pipeline, especially as he is preparing perhaps, to invade Ukraine. So, we do have to push back on that. And I think that there is a large group of United States senators that will push back on Vladimir Putin.”
Her remarks came during a recent Fox News Channel interview alongside former Defense Department official Michele Flournoy, who did not appear to agree with her and argued that blocking the pipeline could further weaken Biden and dilute any sanctions he decides to levy on Russia in the future.
Furthermore, Flournoy asserted that such a move could be seen as a move against Germany and could negatively impact America’s relations with that nation.
“What people are worried he may do”
For his part, Biden claimed that he is putting together “the most comprehensive and meaningful set of initiatives to make it very, very difficult for [Russian President Vladimir] Putin to go ahead and do what people are worried he may do.”
Recent reports have indicated that roughly 100,000 Russian troops are stationed along the Ukrainian border. Biden administration officials have warned that Putin plans to invade Ukraine early next year.
Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said last week that the administration is closely monitoring Russia’s movements and that any response to a possible invasion would be in accordance with allied nations around the world.
“Whatever we do will be done as a part of an international community,” he said. “The best case though is that we won’t see an incursion by the Soviet Union into the Ukraine.”
So far, it remains unclear whether Russia is simply flexing its military might or if the nation plans to make a move on its neighbor.