Congress Passes Bills to Aid Ukraine

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Both the House and Senate overwhelmingly passed legislation on Thursday aimed at providing aid to Ukraine and sanctions on Russia in response to Russia’s incursion into Crimea.

Though aid for Ukraine had large bipartisan support in the Senate, a dispute over language related to the International Monetary Fund originally included in the bill had both sides accusing the other of delaying the process.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid announced on Tuesday the Senate would drop the IMF language, which some Republicans said was unrelated to the aid bill and would decrease U.S. in the organization. The House, which had already passed legislation to provide economic aid, Thursday passed sanctions similar to those included in the Senate bill.

Each bill provides $1 billion in loan guarantees to Ukraine and formalizes President Obama’s recently announced sanctions against Russia and those responsible for undermining Ukraine's sovereignty.

The two chambers will need to reconcile minor differences before sending it to the president’s desk, which is expected to happen before the end of the week.

“I believe that we are in a dangerous moment in history with global consequences and the world is watching,” Sen. Robert Menendez, chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said following the vote. “And I think we responded very loudly today.”