Ukraine aid bill delayed a few more days in U.S. Congress

WASHINGTON Fri Mar 28, 2014 1:27pm EDT

Graffiti depicting Russian President Vladimir Putin (R) extending a hand to the Ukrainian people is seen on a wall in the Crimean city of Simferopol March 28, 2014. REUTERS/Shamil Zhumatov

Graffiti depicting Russian President Vladimir Putin (R) extending a hand to the Ukrainian people is seen on a wall in the Crimean city of Simferopol March 28, 2014.

Credit: Reuters/Shamil Zhumatov

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. lawmakers overwhelmingly approved aid to Ukraine and sanctions on Russia, but the measure will not become law until at least next week, congressional aides said on Friday.

The House of Representatives left for the weekend without approving a final version of the legislation. Aides said it would be considered first thing when members return to Washington on Tuesday, April 1.

After weeks of partisan wrangling over what should be contained in the legislation, the Senate and House on Thursday quickly passed separate, and largely similar, bills to help stabilize Ukraine's weak economy and punish those involved for Russia's annexation of the Crimean Peninsula.

As the measures passed, congressional leaders reached an agreement for the Republican-controlled House to approve the Democratic-led Senate bill and send it to President Barack Obama to sign into law before the end of the week.

The legislation supports $1 billion in loan guarantees for Kiev, provides $150 billion in aid to Ukraine and surrounding countries and imposes sanctions on Russians and Ukrainians over Russia's annexation of Crimea.

It does not include the International Monetary Fund reforms sought by the White House that were resisted by many Republicans. Senate Democrats agreed to drop the IMF provision in order to move the legislation quickly.

But the House did not pass the Senate bill as was expected on Friday.

A spokeswoman for Eric Cantor, the Republican House Majority Leader, said there was less urgency after the IMF reached an agreement to release billions to the government in Kiev.

She also said members wanted their votes to be on the record supporting Ukraine, rather than passing the bill by unanimous consent - a way of declaring an issue decided, without taking a roll-call vote - and House leaders agreed.

(Reporting by Patricia Zengerle; editing by Gunna Dickson)

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Comments (3)
rhross wrote:
Seriously? Are you listening to the millions of Americans who depended on the emergency unemployment benefits to survive and are now on the brink of homelessness and poverty? Shame on you for your latest excuse to stall the program. As for the retroactive benefits they might, JUST MIGHT, allow some folks to catch up on their mortgages, car payment, food and tuition for their children, etc. I have been a lifelong Republican (I’m ashamed to admit now), but you have tipped the scales my friend! I will not be voting for ANY republican based on your actions.”

Call, write, fax or email! Let your voice be heard!

Office of the Speaker
H-232 The Capitol
Washington, DC 20515
Phone: (202) 225-0600
Fax: (202) 225-5117

http://www.speaker.gov/contact

Mar 28, 2014 2:08pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
go2green wrote:
150 billion? Are they out of their minds? We need that money to fix things here.

Mar 28, 2014 2:31pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
SunnyDaySam wrote:
Senate Democrats agreed to drop the IMF provision in order to move the legislation quickly.
But the House [GOP] did not pass the Senate bill as was expected on Friday.

More Republican obstruction. It’s just a habit with them now. 2014/2016

Mar 28, 2014 5:44pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
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