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Democrats Drop IMF Provision From Ukraine Aid Bill

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Image: US-POLITICS-BORLAUG-STATUE-REID
US Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid speaks before unveiling a statue of Dr. Norman E. Borlaug in Statuary Hall at the US Capitol in Washington on March 25, 2014. Nobel Prize winner Borlaug, a plant scientist who tried to teach the world to feed itself, whose work was credited with saving hundreds of millions of lives and is widely described as the father of the broad agricultural movement called the Green Revolution. AFP PHOTO / Jim WATSONJIM WATSON/AFP/Getty ImagesJIM WATSON / AFP - Getty Images

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Democrats have dropped reforms to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) from legislation to provide aid to Ukraine, clearing its way for Senate passage.

Senate Democratic leaders acceded to Republican objections over including IMF reforms as part of the Ukraine legislation. GOP leaders had griped that the IMF provisions were unrelated to Ukraine aid; Democrats countered by arguing the reforms would give the IMF greater flexibility to lend its own assistance to Ukraine.

Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., had considered dropping the provision earlier Tuesday; the standoff had stalled debate over Ukrainian assistance by two weeks. Reid suggested after party luncheons that he had come to agree with Secretary of State John Kerry that expediting the aid package was a top priority.

"I cannot believe House Republicans will not put national security interests above their partisan political interest," Sen. Robert Menendez, chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, said a short while later on the Senate floor. But Menendez also acknowledged moving forward a package with IMF reforms was untenable.

Reid said the Senate will vote on a revised Ukraine bill without the IMF language on Thursday.

The House has already passed its own legislation.

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