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Rounds, Banking Republicans Oppose Treasury Nominees Over Nord Stream II AG

WASHINGTON—U.S. Senator Mike Rounds (R-S.D.) and U.S. Senate Banking Committee Republicans today sent a letter informing Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen of Republicans’ intent to oppose two Treasury nominees until the administration imposes mandatory sanctions on Nord Stream II AG (NS2AG).

“Until the administration complies with Section 228 of CAATSA, or adequately addresses the absence of penalties on NS2AG, we intend to oppose [Treasury] nominees Brian Nelson and Elizabeth Rosenberg should a markup be scheduled for them at the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs,” the senators wrote.

Last week, President Biden reversed longstanding U.S. policy on Nord Stream II and announced the U.S. and Germany reached a deal to allow for the completion of the pipeline. While Secretary of State Antony Blinken waived NS2AG sanctions under the Protecting Europe's Energy Security Act (PEESA) in May 2021, the administration has not imposed mandatory sanctions on NS2AG under Section 228 of the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA). Section 228 requires the president to sanction any foreign entity that knowingly facilitates a significant transaction for, or on behalf of, any person that is already under Russia-related sanctions.

In May 2021, the State Department PEESA report found that NS2AG has “facilitated transactions” for the construction of the pipeline. Publicly available information further suggests that NS2AG has facilitated these significant transactions on behalf of numerous sanctioned Russian entities, including Gazprom (the owner of NS2AG), the pipe-laying ship Fortuna (which continues to lay pipe today), and JSC Sovfracht (which has boasted publicly about providing equipment for the Nord Stream II project).

“The State Department’s own PEESA findings to Congress, combined with NS2AG’s apparent ongoing involvement with sanctioned Russian entities, strongly suggests there is evidence that NS2AG has facilitated significant transactions for, or on behalf of, one or more previously-sanctioned entities,” the senators asserted.

To read the full letter, click here.