A nearly party-line vote scuttled the Texas senator’s attempt to punish Putin, but a new bill is waiting in the wings.

Sen. Ted Cruz speaks during a hearing. | Alex Brandon-Pool/Getty Image


01/13/2022 09:51 PM EST

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Senate Democrats on Thursday blocked a GOP-led effort to impose sanctions on a Russian natural-gas pipeline amid deteriorating talks with Moscow over its military buildup along Ukraine’s eastern border.

The nearly party-line vote, 55-44, came after an aggressive effort by the Biden administration to limit Democratic defections on the legislation, which the White House viewed as a bid to undercut its strategy to deter a Russian invasion. In the end, six Democrats — many of them vulnerable to GOP challengers in November — and all Republicans but one backed the legislation, falling short of the requisite 60 votes.

The vote and the partisan divisions surrounding it served as the coda to a week of U.S.-Russia talks in Europe that left American officials delivering increasingly dire warnings about Russia’s intentions, with one senior diplomat emphasizing on Thursday that “the drumbeat of war is sounding loud, and the rhetoric has gotten rather shrill.”

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