OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author's opinion.
There could be a mutiny set to take place in the Democrat Party against President Joe Biden and it could undo one of his major policy decisions.
Iowa Republican Senator Joni Ernst said on Sunday during a Fox News interview that a measure to override Biden’s approval of the Russia’s Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline between Russia and Germany is gaining steam, The Daily Mail reported.
Former Defense Department official Michèle Flournoy, who appeared alongside her, said the president is still looking at ways to punish Putin over Russia’s lightning-fast buildup of troops at the Ukrainian border – and sanctions on energy and the economy aren’t off the table.
The Nord Stream 2 pipeline, completed in September after, stands to strengthen Russia’s leverage against the rest of Europe. Russia is Europe’s largest source of natural gas, accounting for 35 percent of the continent’s use.
Putin’s influence in the region stands to rise amid Russia’s increasingly hostile stance toward Ukraine over its growing closeness with countries in the European Union and NATO. The pipeline would allow Germany to bypass an existing natural gas route through Ukraine, weakening the former Soviet state’s economy and its footing against Russia.
“Senator, what do you think of the chances that Congress could override the President and block the pipeline and that you could get Democrats and Republicans joining together to override President Biden?” “Fox News Sunday” host Chris Wallace said.
“Well, I certainly can’t speak for the House, Chris. But I do believe that there is coalescence around these types of actions in the United States Senate. Democrats are concerned, Republicans are concerned. 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,” the senator said.
“Yeah, I mean, this is an ongoing fight in the Senate, Michele. President Biden is trying to stop Congress from blocking the pipeline is a time in this kind of situation, you talked about taking sanctions that haven’t been taken so far. Is it time for President Biden to reverse course, and threatened to block the pipeline?” the host said.
“You know, I think the combination of sanctions that are being considered would be even more powerful than the mess, the signal of blocking that pipeline. Remember what Putin is trying to do here, one of his objectives is to divide the United States in Europe. So, we have got — if we’re going to maintain unity, transatlantic unity, to implement very severe sanctions, we’ve got to work with our European partners, and that includes Germany. And so, I would urge the Senate to think about that. But if you get satisfaction on blocking Nord Stream 2, you might — I actually undermine the effectiveness of the sanctions that the President is threatening would be, hopefully threatening to put in place against Putin,” the former defense official said.
With the buildup of Russian troops at the border of the Ukraine, Biden has been looking for ways to deal with Putin.
On Friday he said, “What I am doing is putting together what I believe to be the most comprehensive and meaningful set of initiatives to make it very, very difficult for Mr. Putin to go ahead and do what people are worried he may do. But that’s in play right now.”
Russia currently has near 100,000 troops along the Ukraine border and has the ability to carry out a swift and immediate invasion, sources said.