House Paves the Way for $1 Billion in Aid to Ukraine

But the legislation doesn’t include changes to the International Monetary Fund that President Obama and some Democrats pushed for.

Anti-government stand behind a 'wall of smoke' during clashes with police in the center of Kiev on February 20, 2014.
National Journal
Jordain Carney
March 6, 2014, 11:11 a.m.

In a Con­gress not known for fast ac­tion, House mem­bers quickly passed le­gis­la­tion Thursday to give Ukraine $1 bil­lion in loan guar­an­tees.

The bill, which passed 385-23 with wide bi­par­tis­an sup­port, was in­tro­duced Wed­nes­day by House Ap­pro­pri­ations Com­mit­tee Chair­man Har­old Ro­gers, R-Ky., and the com­mit­tee’s rank­ing mem­ber Nita Lowey, D-N.Y.

The le­gis­la­tion would give Ukraine ac­cess to loan guar­an­tees from the State De­part­ment. The Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion pledged to give the coun­try $1 bil­lion to help off­set the scale-back of Rus­si­an en­ergy sub­sidies as part of a lar­ger in­ter­na­tion­al ef­fort to provide fin­an­cial sup­port.

Ro­gers called the bill “an im­port­ant first step that will al­low the coun­try to shore up its fin­ances and be­gin to make its eco­nomy more ef­fi­cient.”

And al­though mem­bers stressed the need to help the Ukrain­i­an gov­ern­ment and its fledgling eco­nomy dur­ing floor speeches, they also said the bill would send a mes­sage to Rus­si­an Pres­id­ent Vladi­mir Putin.

Rep. Andy Har­ris, R-Md., said Putin is try­ing to “rel­it­ig­ate the Cold War” with the oc­cu­pa­tion in Crimea.

But the le­gis­la­tion didn’t tie the loan guar­an­tees to changes to the In­ter­na­tion­al Mon­et­ary Fund, as the Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion and some Demo­crats wanted.

The pres­id­ent made a White House brief­ing-room ap­pear­ance Thursday af­ter­noon to press mem­bers of Con­gress to pass le­gis­la­tion, and “spe­cific­ally to sup­port the IMF’s ca­pa­city to lend re­sources to Ukraine and to provide Amer­ic­an as­sist­ance for the Ukrain­i­an gov­ern­ment so that they can weath­er this storm and sta­bil­ize their eco­nomy, [and] make needed re­forms.”

But House Minor­ity Whip Steny Hoy­er sug­ges­ted that the IMF pro­vi­sion could make a re­appear­ance in the Sen­ate, with the Sen­ate For­eign Re­la­tions Com­mit­tee po­ten­tially tak­ing up aid le­gis­la­tion next week.

What We're Following See More »
Clinton Campaign Also Hacked
1 hours ago
More People Watched Trump’s Acceptance Speech
1 hours ago

Hillary Clinton hopes that television ratings for the candidates' acceptance speeches at their respective conventions aren't foreshadowing of similar results at the polls in November. Preliminary results from the networks and cable channels show that 34.9 million people tuned in for Donald Trump's acceptance speech while 33.3 million watched Clinton accept the Democratic nomination. However, it is still possible that the numbers are closer than these ratings suggest: the numbers don't include ratings from PBS or CSPAN, which tend to attract more Democratic viewers.

North Carolina Voter ID Law Struck Down
4 hours ago

The US Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals on Friday overturned North Carolina's 2013 voter ID law, saying it was passed with “discriminatory intent." The decision sends the case back to the district judge who initially dismissed challenges to the law. "The ruling prohibits North Carolina from requiring photo identification from voters in future elections, including the November 2016 general election, restores a week of early voting and preregistration for 16- and 17-year-olds, and ensures that same-day registration and out-of-precinct voting will remain in effect."

Massive Oil Pipeline Approved for the Midwest
5 hours ago

An oil pipeline almost as long as the much-debated Keystone XL has won final approval to transport crude from North Dakota to Illinois, traveling through South Dakota and Iowa along the way. "The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers gave the final blessing to the Dakota Access pipeline on Tuesday. Developers now have the last set of permits they need to build through the small portion of federal land the line crosses, which includes major waterways like the Mississippi and the Missouri rivers. The so-called Bakken pipeline goes through mostly state and private land."

GDP Grew at 1.2% in Q2
6 hours ago

The U.S. economy grew at an anemic 1.2% in the second quarter, "well below the 2.6% growth economists surveyed by The Wall Street Journal had forecast." Consumer spending was "robust," but it was offset by "cautious" business investment. "Since the recession ended seven years ago, the expansion has failed to achieve the breakout growth seen in past recoveries. "The average annual growth rate during the current business cycle, 2.1%, remains the weakest of any expansion since at least 1949."