Sen. Ted Cruz celebrated Saturday after his holdout tactics secured a January vote that could slap new sanctions on Nord Stream 2, Russia’s natural gas pipeline to Germany.
“Major victory,” the Texas Republican exulted on Twitter. “When the Senate reconvenes, we’ll finally have a vote on sanctioning Putin’s pipeline.”
Cruz had used the Senate’s arcane rules to place holds on 32 of President Biden’s high-level State and Treasury Department nominees, including several ambassadors, blocking their confirmations for months.
His aim was to force a Senate vote on sanctioning the long-disputed Nord Stream 2 pipeline, after Biden waived Trump-era sanctions in May.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has called the pipeline, which allows Russian-produced gas to bypass its rival neighbor on the way to European markets, a powerful geopolitical weapon for Putin — and Republicans have vociferously opposed Biden on the matter.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, in a marathon Senate session that stretched into Saturday morning, agreed to allow a Senate vote on new Nord Stream 2 sanctions if Cruz would lift his holds.
More than 50 of Biden’s stalled nominations sailed through the Senate on voice votes once Cruz and Schumer sealed the deal.