POLITICS: PennAve

Senate Democrats may strip IMF reform from Ukraine measure

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Politics,Congress,Susan Ferrechio,John Boehner,PennAve,House Republicans,Unemployment,Ukraine

Senate Democrats, now meeting behind closed doors, may remove a Ukraine aide bill a controversial provision to ratify reforms to the International Monetary Fund.

A senior Democratic aide told the Washington Examiner the removal "is being discussed," but no decision has been made.

The talk comes after House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, announced Tuesday he wasn't interested in taking up the Senate bill because of the IMF language and he called on the Senate to instead vote on the House version, which mirrors Senate provisions providing loans and additional sanctioning authority against Russia for President Obama.

The Senate on Monday voted 78-17 to begin debate on a measure that would grant Ukraine a $1 billion loan package as well as other financial aid to help rebuilt the government and recover stolen assets taken during the recent unrest. The legislation also includes authority for Obama to impose additional sanctions on Russia, which has invaded Ukraine and taken over Crimea.

House-republicans">House Republicans appear to have no qualms with this portion of the Senate bill, which mirrors legislation they passed earlier this month.

But House GOP leaders said they will not support language in the legislation that would ratify quota reforms to the International Monetary Fund.

The IMF provision, they said, would weaken the voting power of the United States within the organization by boosting the voting share of emerging nations, including Russia.

“What the Senate ought to be doing is taking up our bills and just moving them,” Boehner said. “What they're trying to do here is bring unrelated items into this debate and all it's going to do is slow the whole process down. So I would hope that we would find the common ground, pass it so that we can help our friends.”

Boehner said the House this week will begin working on additional Ukraine legislation that will “put sanctions on [Russian President Vladimir] Putin.”

He described the legislation as “a bipartisan resolution reiterating not only our support for Ukraine but our support for allies in Eastern Europe and NATO, as well as insisting on holding Mr. Putin and the oligarchs accountable for their unlawful act.”

The Senate is currently debating the Ukraine measure. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said Tuesday the IMF provision should be removed because the House will not support it.

“This simply cannot be a take or leave it situation. That’s just nonsensical."

Boehner also rejected taking up pending Senate legislation that would restore federal unemployment pay that expired on Dec. 28.

The Senate is likely to pass the measure because it was co-authored by five Republicans, which will help Democrats reach the 60 vote threshold needed to stop a GOP filibuster.

The Senate bill would restore jobless pay until May and provide retroactive pay for those were eligible in late December.

But Boehner said the bill lacks elements aimed at boosting job growth, which he said is required to meet House GOP approval. The legislation has also been criticized by state officials who administer unemployment benefits. They say it would be impossible to figure out who is eligible for retroactive pay.

“The state directors are saying, we don't know who went back to work, we don't know who's still out there, and so we'd have to send checks to everybody,” Boehner said. “I don't think taxpayers expect us to do that. So I don't see how it's workable.”

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