Monday: Ukraine aid in the Senate

Congress returns to work, and starts the week off considering legislation to deal with the crisis in Ukraine.

The Senate meets at 2 p.m., and at 5:30 p.m., it will hold a procedural vote on S. 2124. This bill would sanction Russia for its involvement in the Crimean peninsula, which belonged to Ukraine just a few weeks ago.

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The Senate bill from Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) provides $1 billion in U.S. loan guarantees, but also spends money to promote Democracy and security in Ukraine, and calls for sanctions against anyone deemed to undermine Ukraine's security or independence.

The Senate bill also includes language that would reform spending policy at the International Monetary Fund, language that is not in a version of the Ukraine bill that the House may pass this week. That difference is a hurdle that the House and Senate will have to find away around before passing a final bill.

Sixty votes will be needed today to advance the Senate bill — the vote is on a motion to end debate on a motion to proceed to the legislation.

The House starts at noon with speeches, and then in the afternoon it will work on up to nine suspension bills, including:

— H.R. 3771, the Philippines Charitable Giving Assistance Act, allowing people to make donations for typhoon recovery efforts in the Philippines until April 15, and to deduct those donations from their 2013 tax bill.

— H.R. 4275, the Cooperative and Small Employer Charity Pension Flexibility Act, making it easier for charitable groups and others to provide defined benefit pension plans.

Members will also take up seven other bills naming post offices around the country. They are H.R. 1036, H.R. 1228, H.R. 1376, H.R. 1451, H.R. 1813, H.R. 2391, and H.R. 3060.