Congress Approves Ukraine Aid, Expects Obama Signature This Week

Both chambers passed legislation Thursday but still have work to do before anything lands on the president’s desk.

People hold a huge flag, a combination of a Ukrainian, Crimean and Tatar flags, on Independence Square in Kiev on March 23, 2014.
National Journal
Stacy Kaper
March 27, 2014, 8:44 a.m.

The House and Sen­ate al­most sim­ul­tan­eously passed dif­fer­ent but spir­itu­ally sim­il­ar Ukraine bills Thursday that would co­di­fy sanc­tions pun­ish­ing Rus­sia for its re­cent an­nex­a­tion of Crimea and pro­mote demo­cracy in Ukraine.

Both cham­bers ap­proved their bills by over­whelm­ing mar­gins, and a path for­ward on how to send le­gis­la­tion to the White House this week began to slowly emerge. Law­makers were ini­tially un­sure if they could re­con­cile the dif­fer­ent bills and send one to Pres­id­ent Obama to sign by the end of the week.

The House meas­ure passed 399-19 and sup­ple­ments an­oth­er bill the House passed earli­er this month that would provide $1 bil­lion in loan guar­an­tees to Ukraine.

The Sen­ate, mean­while, agreed on a 98-2 vote to strip its bill of con­tro­ver­sial re­forms to the In­ter­na­tion­al Mon­et­ary Fund that House Re­pub­lic­ans were ex­pec­ted to op­pose. Re­pub­lic­an Sens. Dean Heller and Rand Paul voted against ad­opt­ing the re­vised meas­ure. The Sen­ate bill passed by voice vote and com­bines $1 bil­lion in loan guar­an­tees to Ukraine with sanc­tions meant to pun­ish Rus­si­an Pres­id­ent Vladi­mir Putin.

The White House has lob­bied for the IMF re­forms, which it says could help the IMF boost its as­sist­ance to Ukraine. But the ad­min­is­tra­tion has also ar­gued that send­ing as­sist­ance to Ukraine is es­sen­tial and must hap­pen as soon as pos­sible — ideally be­fore the end of the month — with or without the IMF piece.

The House and Sen­ate agree on the policy points, but they still need to pass the same bill in or­der to get one to Pres­id­ent’s Obama desk and signed in­to law.

The House ad­journed Thursday without com­plet­ing the Ukraine le­gis­la­tion. But a House GOP aide said the cham­ber was still plan­ning to send a bill to the White House this week. It is ex­pec­ted to ap­prove the Sen­ate meas­ure on a voice vote, which could oc­cur even while the House is ad­journed, in a pro forma ses­sion, be­fore the week­end.

A Sen­ate Demo­crat­ic aide also said both cham­bers plan to still get le­gis­la­tion to Obama this week. But noth­ing is cer­tain, and the pos­sib­il­ity of ac­tion slip­ping un­til next week re­mains a dis­tinct pos­sib­il­ity. 

Sarah Mimms contributed to this article.
What We're Following See More »
WILL APPEAR TOGETHER TOMORROW
As Expected, Clinton Goes with Kaine
13 hours ago
THE LATEST
SO MUCH FOR THE RATINGS BUMP
Convention Ratings Same as 2012
20 hours ago
THE LATEST
8,000 DOCUMENTS
Wikileaks Releases Trove of DNC Docs
21 hours ago
THE DETAILS

"Wikileaks published more than 8,000 documents purportedly taken from the Democratic National Committee Friday, just days before the start of the party's convention in Philadelphia. The documents included briefings on off-the-record fundraisers and candid photographs."

Source:
YES, WE KAINE?
Clinton Announcing VP Pick Today
1 days ago
THE LATEST

Hillary Clinton "is widely expected to announce her choice" of vice president "in an email to supporters while on a campaign swing in Florida on Friday afternoon." The consensus: it'll be Sen. Tim Kaine of Virginia, although Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack are also said to be in the running.

Source:
EARLY BUMP FOR TRUMP?
New Round of Polls Show a Tight Race
1 days ago
THE LATEST
  • A Rasmussen Reports poll shows Donald Trump ahead of Hillary Clinton, 43%-42%, the fourth week in a row he's led the poll (one of the few poll in which he's led consistently of late).
  • A Reuters/Ipsos survey shows Clinton leading 40%-36%. In a four-way race, she maintains her four-point lead, 39%-35%, with Gary Johnson and Jill Stein pulling 7% and 3%, respectively.
  • And the LA Times/USC daily tracking poll shows a dead heat, with Trump ahead by about half a percentage point.
×