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68 GOP members send letter to Biden admin slamming POTUS for waiving Nord Stream 2 Pipeline sanctions

Gas pipeline would be 'gift' to Putin, Republicans warn

By Houston Keene | Fox News

EXCLUSIVE: Sixty-eight Republican members of the House of Representatives are sending a letter to the Biden administration ahead of the president's visit with Russian President Vladimir Putin this month, slamming President Biden for waiving sanctions on Russia's Nord Stream 2 Pipeline.

House Select Climate Crisis Committee ranking member Garret Graves, R-La., House Energy and Commerce Committee ranking member Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Wash., and U.S. Congressman Andy Barr, R-Ky. — one of the key players behind the Nord Stream 2 sanctions — led 65 of their colleagues on a letter to Biden on Monday outlining their "strong objections" to the president waiving sanctions on the company constructing Russia’s pipeline project.

Signatories on the letter also include House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif. and Minority Whip Steve Scalise, R-La.

"These sanctions focused on a one-time communist intelligence officer in the former Soviet-controlled East Germany and close crony of Russian President Vladimir Putin," the lawmakers warned. "The completion of Nord Stream 2, which was slowed during the Trump Administration, will be a gift to Putin and his efforts to increase geopolitical influence in Europe."

"Waiving sanctions for Nord Stream 2 ‘because it’s almost completely finished' is the wrong message to our allies and partners and undermines our credibility and global leadership," they continued, pointing out that Russia being able to pump more natural gas to the rest of Europe will cost American jobs and reduce "America’s geopolitical influence."

The Republicans excoriated congressional Democrats for four years of "unfounded claims of Russian influence over Trump Administration policies" and pointed out that Biden’s secretary of state, Anthony Blinken, said he was "determined to do whatever we can to prevent that completion."

"However, waiving sanctions is the opposite of doing ‘whatever we can do to prevent that completion’ and raises serious concerns about the commitments your Administration makes before Congress and to our allies," the Republicans blasted Biden.

"Furthermore, given your open hostility to domestic pipelines like the Keystone XL pipeline, which also was a top priority for our Canadian allies, it is baffling that you are willing to green-light Russia's Nord Stream 2 pipeline," the letter reads.

"The Keystone XL pipeline would enhance our energy security and create job opportunities for Americans," they continued. "Lifting these sanctions, however, prioritizes Russian energy over American energy and Russian jobs over American jobs."

The Republicans said it makes "no sense to favor higher-emitting Russian natural gas" than the more environmentally friendly American liquified natural gas (LNG) and that the recent cyberattack against the Colonial Pipeline reportedly by Russia "is another reminder of long-standing efforts by Russia to undermine American production and transport of energy."

"Unfortunately, it is not just the Russians looking to undermine American energy and American jobs. At every turn, your Administration continues to seek action that will result in killing American projects and pink-slipping American workers," the lawmakers wrote.

Additionally, the group wrote that America "needs a different response at a time when our nation is still recovering from a terrorist attack on the Colonial Pipeline" and that states in New England were having to "resort to importing Russian natural gas because of a lack of pipeline capacity."

"We urge you to rethink your action and fully implement the Congressionally mandated sanctions against all responsible parties and actors to permanently stop completion of Nord Stream 2," the lawmakers concluded the letter.

A multitude of big-name Republicans signed onto the letter led by Graves, including the new House Republican Conference chair Elise Stefanik, R-N.Y., and Reps. Brad Wenstrup, R-Ohio, and Debbie Lesko, R-Ariz.

Biden is slated to meet with Putin in Geneva on June 16, where Biden will be raising the issue of Russian ransomware attacks, according to the White House on Wednesday.

The White House did not immediately respond to Fox News’ request for comment on the letter.

Houston Keene is a reporter for Fox News Digital.

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