The Senate could take up the Ukraine aid bill this week that the House already passed, allowing lawmakers to avoid controversy and ensure action before they leave for a weeklong recess.
The Senate Foreign Relations Committee is expected to approve a comprehensive Ukraine aid package Wednesday. The package, led by committee Chairman Robert Menendez and ranking member Bob Corker would include $1 billion in loan guarantees to Ukraine, sanctions against Russia that condemn it for corruption, and reforms to the International Monetary Fund sought by the Obama administration.
The IMF reforms would boost the organization’s capacity to assist countries in crises like what is unfolding in Ukraine. But the reforms are expected to remain a source of controversy with some Republicans, who are wary of the IMF, have concerns about the potential costs, or who want to use the reforms for leverage with the administration on unrelated priorities.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is expected to file cloture immediately following the committee’s passage of the bill Wednesday, in order to bring the bill to the floor. But the consternation over the IMF provision is expected to bog things down and could prevent the chamber from bringing up the bill this week.
With the Senate expected to adjourn Thursday and several members scheduled to visit Ukraine over the recess, many lawmakers feel an increased sense of urgency to act, so the chamber might take up the House-passed bill, which provides $1 billion in loan guarantees before it adjourns, according to a senator involved in the negotiations.
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With three days until the first debate, the polls are coming fast and furious. The latest round:
- An Associated Press/Gfk poll of registered voters found very few voters committed, with Clinton leading Trump, 37% to 29%, and Gary Johnson at 7%.
- A McClatchy-Marist poll gave Clinton a six-point edge, 45% to 39%, in a four-way ballot test. Johnson pulls 10% support, with Jill Stein at 4%.
- Rasmussen, which has drawn criticism for continually showing Donald Trump doing much better than he does in other polls, is at it again. A new survey gives Trump a five-point lead, 44%-39%.
In contrast to Hillary Clinton's meticulous debate practice sessions, Donald Trump "is largely shunning traditional debate preparations, but has been watching video of…Clinton’s best and worst debate moments, looking for her vulnerabilities.” Trump “has paid only cursory attention to briefing materials. He has refused to use lecterns in mock debate sessions despite the urging of his advisers. He prefers spitballing ideas with his team rather than honing them into crisp, two-minute answers.”
Donald Trump "is on the precipice of becoming the only major-party presidential candidate this century not to reach out to millions of American voters whose dominant, first or just preferred language is Spanish. Trump has not only failed to buy any Spanish-language television or radio ads, he so far has avoided even offering a translation of his website into Spanish, breaking with two decades of bipartisan tradition."
Bill and Hillary Clinton have purchased the home next door to their primary residence in tony Chappaqua, New York, for $1.16 million. "By purchasing the new home, the Clinton's now own the entire cul-de-sac at the end of the road in the leafy New York suburb. The purchase makes it easier for the United States Secret Service to protect the former president and possible future commander in chief."