The logo of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline project is seen on a pipe at the Chelyabinsk Pipe Rolling Plant in Chelyabinsk, Russia on February 26, 2020. REUTERS / Maxim Shemetov / File Photo

WASHINGTON, July 2 (Reuters) – The Biden administration may come under pressure to block Russia’s Nord Stream 2 pipeline after a House of Representatives panel this week passed an amendment to repeal State Department capacity US to lift sanctions on the project.

“These sanctions are mandatory and non-discretionary,” said Representative Marcy Kaptur, Democrat and sponsor of the amendment to a foreign aid bill. The House panel adopted it unanimously.

The amendment seeks to repeal the sanction waivers in fiscal year 2022. But the pipeline is 95% complete and the bill still has a long way to go before it becomes law, to be passed by the entire House. , the Senate, and be signed by President Joe Biden.

In May, the State Department sent Congress a report concluding that Nord Stream 2 AG and its CEO Matthias Warnig, an ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin, engaged in sanctionable activity. But Secretary of State Antony Blinken immediately lifted those sanctions, saying it was in the national interest of the United States. Read more

President Joe Biden, a Democrat, has opposed the $ 11 billion project that would transport Russian gas from the Arctic to Germany, saying it is a bad deal for Europe. But Biden also wants to improve ties with Germany, an ally he needs to help deal with broader issues such as climate change, economic recovery, and relations with Iran and China. The United States is an exporter of natural gas to Europe in the form of LNG, but Russian gas is cheaper.

Washington fears that Russia is using Nord Stream 2 as leverage to weaken the states of the European Union by increasing their dependence on Moscow. The project, now about 95% complete, would bypass Ukraine, depriving it of lucrative transit fees and potentially jeopardizing its fight against Russian aggression.

A State Department spokesperson said the Biden administration would continue to “review entities engaged in potentially punishable behavior” and work closely with Congress on the matter.

(This story removes reference to Bill having to pass a second house sign.)

Reporting by Timothy Gardner; Editing by David Gregorio and Alistair Bell

Our standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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