After much back and forth this week about how the House and Senate would finally send substantially similar legislation to aid Ukraine to the White House, the legislation is rolling over to next week, congressional aides said Friday.
The House and Senate have each passed essentially the same set of measures designed to provide loan guarantees to Ukraine while imposing sanctions against Russia meant to punish President Vladimir Putin. But they are not in the same package, which is necessary to send a bill to the president’s desk.
Late Thursday the Senate approved by unanimous consent funding for Voice of America and similar European broadcasts into eastern Ukraine and Crimea geared toward ethnic Russian communities, which was included in the House legislation.
House lawmakers had been expected to approve the Senate Ukraine package Friday on voice vote, while the chamber is adjourned in a pro forma session. But after heartburn over a quick voice vote on the so-called doc-fix legislation Thursday, the chamber decided to instead put the remaining Ukraine legislation on its suspension calendar, for quick debate and approval on Tuesday.
The latest delay is only for a few days, but comes at the end of a long month of uncertainty as lawmakers’ overwhelming disapproval of Russia’s invasion and annexation of Crimea struggled to translate into a straightforward legislative path — despite widespread bipartisan agreement on the fundamental necessity of a U.S. response.
A House aide said the urgency lessened after Ukraine received aid from the International Monetary Fund this week, allowing Congress more breathing room to come up with a legislative deal.
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The House voted down the otherwise uncontroversial Energy and Water appropriations bill Thursday after Democrats succeeded in attaching an amendment affirming LGBT job discrimination protections for military contractors. More than 40 Republicans supported the amendment, but when it came to vote on the bill, 130 Republicans joined all but six Democrats to sink the bill. Speaker Paul Ryan said Democrats voting against the bill after securing the amendment shows their intention was to scuttle the process. Democrats, however, blamed other so-called poison-pill amendments for their votes against the bill. Nonetheless, Ryan said he intends to continue the appropriations process.
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