Senate

Cruz puts hold on Biden's CIA nominee

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) put a hold on President Biden's nominee to lead the CIA in a bid to get the administration to take action against Russia's Nord Stream 2 pipeline project.

Cruz confirmed the move on Friday, saying on Twitter, "I'll release my hold when the Biden admin meets its legal obligation to report and sanction the ships and companies building Putin's pipeline. Follow the law. Stop being soft on Russia. #NordStream2."  

The move was first reported by Bloomberg News. The hold will delay the nomination, and Biden's nominee, William Burns, is ultimately expected to be confirmed.

The Hill has reached out to Cruz's office for further comment.

The Senate Intelligence Committee unanimously advanced Burns's nomination to the full Senate on Tuesday. 

Russian energy company Gazprom is planning to finish the pipeline by September after a yearlong delay imposed by sanctions, according to Reuters.

The news outlet noted that lawmakers from both sides think that about 15 ships are helping build the pipeline, but the State Department targeted only one ship for sanctions in a report to Congress last month.

After the report, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said during a press briefing last month that the administration was continuing to "monitor activity to complete or to certify the pipeline, and if such activity takes place, we'll make a determination on the applicability of sanctions."

Forty GOP senators wrote a letter to Biden on March 3 urging the administration to impose more sanctions, saying that "the failure of the administration to identify and impose new sanctions signals its willingness to allow President Putin to gain a stranglehold over Europe's gas supplies and increase its geopolitical leverage."  

Cruz has pressured other Biden nominees over the pipeline. Most recently, the Texas Senator confronted Wendy Sherman, Biden's nominee for deputy secretary of State, during her confirmation hearing before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Thursday.

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