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Reid, GOP Battle Over Ukraine Aid Deal

Republicans are bristling at accusations made by Sen. Harry Reid that the GOP may have helped Russia annex Crimea.
Image: Senate Republicans Address The Media After Their Weekly Policy Luncheon
WASHINGTON, DC - MARCH 11: Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) answers questions following a weekly policy luncheon at the U.S. Capitol on March 11, 2014 in Washington, DC. Reid commented on allegations made by Sen. Dianne Feinstein regarding the CIA and the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)Win McNamee / Getty Images

House Republican leadership aides are bristling at accusations made by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., on Monday that Republican opposition to provisions in the Senate Ukraine aid package may have emboldened Russia to annex Crimea.

"Since this was blocked by some Republicans, these important sanctions have not taken place," Reid said on the Senate floor. "Russian lawmakers voted to annex Crimea, and Russian forces have taken over, in many instances by force, military bases in Crimea. It's impossible to know whether events would have unfolded differently if the United States had responded to this Russian aggression with a strong unified voice, which we did not do."

But House Republicans counter that they passed an aid bill earlier this month that included $1 billion in loan guarantees for Ukraine, and it is Reid, not the GOP, that has delayed the process.

"The Senate Majority Leader sounds completely unhinged," Michael Steel, spokesman for House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio said. "The House has acted, and is continuing to act, in a reasonable and responsible way to give the White House the tools it needs to hold President Putin accountable."

The partisan fight stems from Republican opposition to reforms to the International Monetary Fund that were included in a Ukraine aid package moving through the Senate. House Republicans, and some Democrats, see inclusion of the reforms as unrelated to Ukraine and say it would only increase the United States' financial commitment to the IMF.

"The House bill was over in the Senate, the single most important thing was to get some initial emergency money over to Ukraine, that should have happened before this break," said Rep. Brad Sherman, D-Calif., who serves on the Foreign Affairs Committee. "The Senate should have passed the House bill."

The Senate version of the bill passed a procedural vote on Monday and will likely be approved in the Senate later this week.

"If the Senate simply throws the unrelated IMF stuff onto the Ukraine bill, it will be DOA in the House, and Reid knows that," a House GOP leadership aide told NBC News, "The Senate delays have to stop."