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Reid Rules out House-passed Ukraine Bill

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Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., on Wednesday ruled out taking up the House-passed Ukraine loan guarantee bill, saying it was inadequate in the face of a Senate version that passed out of the Foreign Relations Committee today.

"No, no," Reid said when asked if the Senate could just take up the House-passed bill, "Because the House bill doesn't have sanctions in it and doesn't have the money we need."

The Senate version includes the loan guarantees for Ukraine already included in the House-passed version, but the Senate bill also includes IMF quota reform, and sanctions for those involved in Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

House Republicans believe the Senate should just take up the bill they passed last week, with some charging that cuts to the military that are used to pay for provisions in the Senate bill need to be removed before they can support it.

"Senator Menendez' bill to fund reforms at the IMF on the backs of our troops is just looney," House Armed Services Committee Chairman Buck McKeon, R-Calif., said in a statement, "I will strongly oppose it if it comes to the House."

But Senator Lindsay Graham, R-S.C., pushed back, saying he would support the bill "because we need to get on with it as a nation."

"I want to help the army as much as anybody, but this is a national security crisis, we've gotta move on with it," Graham told reporters, "If he can find a better offset great."

It's unlikely that the Senate will be able to finish considering their version by the end of this week, and with both chambers on recess next week, Congress may not finish work on an aid bill for Ukraine until the week of March 24.

One thing is for certain, Sen Reid is not worried about House Republicans' opposition to the Senate bill. When told by a reporter that Republicans in the House are not "keen" of their version, he responded: "Are they keen on anything?"

Reid's comments reflects a deeper divide amongst the two chambers, and a top aide for House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., hit back, saying the House "is keen on working expeditiously."

"There are nearly 200 bills stalled in the Senate, many address jobs and growth, dozens sponsored by fellow Democrats, and many overwhelmingly bipartisan such as Friday's vote to give the administration authority to issue loan guarantees to Ukraine," Cantor Spokesman Rory Cooper said, "The House is keen on acting expeditiously."

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