Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said Tuesday that the international community agrees the “the government of Russia looks foolish” after annexing Crimea.
Monday evening, the Senate voted 78-17 in the first procedural vote to advance a bill that would give Ukraine a $1 billion loan and more than $100 million in pro-democracy funds, and sanction Russians involved in the military action in Crimea.
“There is no reason we can’t pass the bill today,” Reid said. “The situation regarding Ukraine is getting worse, not better.”
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) accused Reid of injecting “hyper-partisanship” into the debate on the bill. On Monday, Reid accused “radical” Republicans of delaying the bill to benefit the billionaire Koch brothers who donate to GOP campaigns.
“This bill cannot pass the House or become law in its current form,” McConnell said Tuesday. “It must be amended. … The controversial IMF provision must be removed.”
The controversial International Monetary Fund provision shifts $63 billion within the body from a tightly controlled crisis fund to the general loan pool. It also approves a 2010 reform designed to give developing nations a greater say in the running of the IMF, but which some conservatives say weakens U.S. power and prerogatives.
The IMF reforms are scored as costing $315 million, offset by cuts to State Department programs and Defense Department procurement accounts. While small relative to the $600 billion annual Pentagon budget, the cut has drawn ire from some defense hawks.
McConnell said the Senate should instead pass the bill without the IMF language — something the House also plans to pass later this week.
Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) said Monday that he would introduce an amendment to the Ukraine bill that removes the IMF provision, but it’s unclear if Reid will allow a vote on that amendment or any amendments at all.