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Congress Heading for Fight Over Aid to Ukraine Congress Heading for Fight Over Aid to Ukraine

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Defense

Congress Heading for Fight Over Aid to Ukraine

Senators are expected to overcome a procedural hurdle, but disagreement over an IMF provision remains.

Independence Square in Kiev, where several protesters have been killed in clashes with riot police.(Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)

Senators are taking a step closer to a showdown with the House over an aid package for Ukraine.

The Senate is expected to take a procedural vote late Monday afternoon on a bill that includes controversial changes to the International Monetary Fund. The provision—long pressed for by the Obama administration—would allow the United States to move billions from the organization's crisis fund to a general fund.

Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Robert Menendez said in Brussels over the weekend that the IMF changes are part of a bill that assists "Ukraine during this critical time" and "holds Moscow accountable for its aggressive stance."

 

Aid to Ukraine has broad bipartisan support, and the bill is expected to pass its procedural vote. But the likelihood of a bill reaching the president's desk with the IMF reforms intact remains unclear.

Top administration officials—including President Obama, Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew, and Secretary of State John Kerry—have stressed that the changes to the international group are needed to help Ukraine get more aid money. But congressional Republicans have balked—and in the House, outright rejected— including the changes.

House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce introduced legislation last week that largely mirrored the Senate bill, except for the IMF provision. The committee will mark up the proposal Tuesday.

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