Ukraine financial aid package stalled in Congress
March 13th, 2014
05:41 PM ET
9 years ago

Ukraine financial aid package stalled in Congress

(CNN) - A Ukraine financial aid package stalled in Congress on Thursday, caught up in a fight over IMF funding and an unrelated dispute over rules aimed at curbing political activities by nonprofit groups.

Senate Democrats rejected a proposal floated by Republicans to add language to the Ukraine measure that would delay new IRS regulations for how the agency oversees some tax-exempt organizations.

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Republicans had privately suggested delaying the regulations, which are not final, might be a tradeoff to help speed passage of the Ukraine bill that includes a White House-backed plan to reform the International Monetary Fund, which is opposed by House Republicans.

Conservatives - and some liberals - vehemently oppose the new rules that came out of the IRS scandal last year when the agency was shown to have improperly targeted a number of nonprofit groups, particularly tea party and other Republican-leaning organizations.

House Speaker John Boehner said Senate Democrats should take up a House-passed Ukraine aid bill and not deal with the controversial IMF reforms at this time because it could delay passage of loans needed by Ukraine.

"The IMF money has nothing to do with Ukraine," Boehner said. "I understand the administration wants the IMF money, but it has nothing at all to do with Ukraine."

The Senate package includes $1 billion in U.S. loan guarantees as well as $50 million to boost democracy building in Ukraine and $100 million for enhanced security cooperation for Ukraine and some of its neighbors.

It also includes proposed sanctions against individual Ukrainians and Russians responsible for the violence against anti-government protestors in Ukraine and those who have undermined the stability and sovereignty of Ukraine.

The White House is advancing loan guarantees and President Barack Obama has set the groundwork for sanctions but is currently pursing a diplomatic strategy to resolve the crisis over Russia's intervention in Crimea.

The aid issue came to a head in the Senate on Thursday when Majority Leader Harry Reid tried to get approval from all members to pass the measure but Republicans objected.

Sen. John McCain, who supports the Senate bill, said he was "embarrassed" that fellow Republicans were putting disputes over the IMF and campaign finance reform ahead of the Ukrainians.

New rules stemming from the IRS scandal would clearly define how much of their budgets tax-free groups known as 501 (c) (4)s could spend on political advocacy.

Opponents fear the rules would curb the free speech rights of the groups and inhibit their ability to influence political campaigns.

Reid is leading a campaign against one of these groups, Americans for Prosperity, which is run by the billionaire brothers Charles and David Koch who have targeted vulnerable Senate Democrats this election year.

"This is hard for me to comprehend. How with a clear conscience they could say, 'Ukrainian's, we probably can't help you because we're trying to protect the Koch brothers," Reid said about the Republican proposal.

The second-ranking Senate Republican, John Cornyn of Texas, agreed the Senate should take up the House-passed bill and said lawmakers could come back later to deal with IMF issue and the new IRS regulations.

"We understand how badly they want to block political speech by people who disagree with them," Cornyn said pointedly about the Democrats.


Filed under: Congress • Ukraine
soundoff (30 Responses)
  1. GOP = Greed Over People

    Wow! The House GOP is turning the Ukraine financial aid package into a "Christmas tree" decorated with "pork"???

    Attaching amendments to a bill? What happened to the House GOP KISS theory of single threading ALL legislation ONE bill at a time?

    Hypocrisy, thy name is Republican.

    March 13, 2014 05:51 pm at 5:51 pm |
  2. Sniffit

    LOL. The GOPers/Teatrolls just don't quit. They're trying to gut the IRS regulations and its ability to enforce the rule that groups engaged in political activities aren't supposed to get tax-exempt status. They think that the whole "scandal" is their opportunity to bust it open even wider to allow for even more abuse of the 501(c)(4) tax-exempt status when, in fact, the whole thing should be a very loud clarion call for tightening and clarifying those rules so that the obvious abuse that has gone on to-date is cut off, made more difficult in the future and more quickly, clearly and fairly results in loss of tax-exempt status. Why would the GOP/Teatrolls want this, you ask? DONOR SECRECY.

    March 13, 2014 05:56 pm at 5:56 pm |
  3. gahh

    Why don't you help the people here and let Ukraine help themselves? Do you think they would give us a billion dollars, if we needed it?

    March 13, 2014 06:11 pm at 6:11 pm |
  4. w1wag

    I'm surprised they didn't try to tie the repeal of Obamacare to this as well. Might as well have, it just as related to this aid package as the IRS thing is.

    March 13, 2014 06:20 pm at 6:20 pm |
  5. ItsAMirage

    And the Party Of "NO!" strikes again. Pres Obama is weak!!!!!
    Pass a bill to send help to Ukraine.....only if we can add junk that has nothing to do with the crisis!!!!!

    March 13, 2014 06:20 pm at 6:20 pm |
  6. James

    Why can't we keep this money in our own country and help the people that are here? Everyone wants to fight about handouts, homeless people etc. but no one seems to really care that we give billions if not trillions to other countries.

    March 13, 2014 06:22 pm at 6:22 pm |
  7. Smitty

    Good, spend on AMERICANS who need help

    March 13, 2014 06:32 pm at 6:32 pm |
  8. Government Waste Rules

    I can't believe the Democrats are denying aid to those poor people! Where is the hope and change?

    March 13, 2014 06:35 pm at 6:35 pm |
  9. Xu Xui

    These fools have no idea of the crisis they have helped to create.

    March 13, 2014 06:39 pm at 6:39 pm |
  10. king

    are you serious repubs, you mean you cannot forget politics for 5 seconds. you guys are like a big baby in the room, you cry cry cry, and mama still takes care of you. this is why you guys act like lunatics 24-7, because you know that all you have to do is call up your big corporate buddies to change the american people's minds about the silly crap you guys have been doing for the past 5 years. it always seems to work though because for some reason the american people always seems to drink the cool aide you guys be shoving down their throat. you guys going to push your luck too far one day though, watch and see. keep up the crap.

    March 13, 2014 06:52 pm at 6:52 pm |
  11. david

    Kill the bill. We don't want to send our tax money oversea. We would've use that $1 billion dollars to cover the food stamps that was denied by the House few weeks ago.

    March 13, 2014 06:56 pm at 6:56 pm |
  12. jiminNM

    No U.S. financial, food, medical, military, mercenary or other support to Ukraine.

    March 13, 2014 07:55 pm at 7:55 pm |
  13. Dorothy

    Let's quit Democracy building. It's a farce!

    March 13, 2014 08:16 pm at 8:16 pm |
  14. Chris-E...al

    IT should be stalled 4ever ! And spent at home here in the U.S. ! On the poor here at home ! And biuld a good better Air defense. And pull out pull out fr all nations and let them defend their own . Right ? And n0t depend on mideast oil . Right ? How not drill ? We dont produce enough oil yet we do n0t have independence fr the Islamic rads ! 0il an gas is still got us by the neck for now until we drill it ! And wind just dont blow my truck down the road here lately. thx

    March 13, 2014 08:19 pm at 8:19 pm |
  15. Norma Vessels

    Republicans won't help the people fighting for their rights and freedoms, unless the non profit organizations have the complete freedom to spend the money they collect on politics, and very little on worthy causes like they're supposed to. That's what you're saying. I think that's called bribery ... but then Republicans are good at that.

    March 13, 2014 08:23 pm at 8:23 pm |
  16. Tom

    The party of "no" strikes again.

    March 13, 2014 09:14 pm at 9:14 pm |
  17. Relictus

    I do not understand why we would send half a billion dollars to Ukraine when we are having trouble paying our own bills. Is the goal American insolvency? Why aren't I getting a generous helping of this free money?

    March 13, 2014 09:43 pm at 9:43 pm |
  18. Adam Smith

    They cut food stamps program & unemployment benefits supposedly because of the budgetary crisis, but suddenly find money to send to Ukraine? These corrrupt politicians need to be voted out of office and banned forever from 'public service.'

    March 13, 2014 10:49 pm at 10:49 pm |
  19. Steve- Illinois

    Pass a clean bill! They don't call him "Dirty Harry" for nothing!

    March 13, 2014 11:04 pm at 11:04 pm |
  20. wendel

    well of course. The repo nutnicks want to add all kinds of junk to it. There has to be some way to stop theses crazy idiots. Sick of their complaining about not doing anything and now not doing anything.

    March 13, 2014 11:48 pm at 11:48 pm |
  21. Robert N. constant

    It is now clear that Ukrainian Americans and those who believe in international law should note that Republican Senators are blocking aid to the Ukraine and thus abetting the Russians. This is consistent with Tea Party darlings Ron and Rand Paul openly supporting the traitor Edward Snowden who has defected to Russia after stealing US State Secrets and allowing them to be published on the internet. Ironically, these people consider themselves good Americans even as they betray their country and the principles of international law. We have had enough Republican/ Tea Party "patriots" to last a lifetime.

    March 13, 2014 11:49 pm at 11:49 pm |
  22. giovanif

    They all hypocrites anyway...I'm sure that socialist Jesus is proud of our greed...the Ukraine will pay for this for decades to come just like a lot of carribean and south American nations....we claim to be democratic but we allow democratically elected governments to be ousted when it suits us like when we put santiaga, sadam, noreaga and the list goes on...and then when we done we screw them.

    March 14, 2014 12:27 am at 12:27 am |
  23. J.V.Hodgson

    Boehner "the IMF matter has nothing to do with Ukraine
    so what pray does the IRS rules have to with Ukraine
    And the Republicans and democrats wonder why we the people think the whole lot of them are useless.
    Regards,
    Hodgson

    March 14, 2014 12:41 am at 12:41 am |
  24. The right wing have lost their damned minds

    They need to stop the bickering and get that money out there before Putin starts WW3.

    March 14, 2014 12:58 am at 12:58 am |
  25. Prometheus

    I think they should 'wait and see' what happens with the referendum before they pledge aid to Crimea. If the referendum passes and they secede and become part of Russia, then the end effect will be to have given aid to Russia instead.

    March 14, 2014 01:03 am at 1:03 am |
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