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Senate Foreign Relations Committee postpones Ukraine aid vote

March 11, 2014 at 3:54 PM
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WASHINGTON, March 11 (UPI) -- A U.S. Senate committee postponed a vote Tuesday on a bill that would provide aid to Ukraine and sanction Russia for sending troops to Crimea.

Aides said Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Robert Menendez, D-N.J., and ranking member Bob Corker, R-Tenn., were still negotiating the details of the bill, the Hill reported.

The delay, the Hill said, could make it difficult for the Senate to pass the bill by the end of the week before Congress begins a week-long recess. If the Senate doesn't take action by Friday, lawmakers will leave Washington without providing aid to Ukraine ahead of a Sunday vote on secession in the country's autonomous, pro-Russia Crimea.

Among outstanding issues between Corker and Menendez are how to offset the cost of providing aid and whether to include reforms to the International Monetary Fund sought by the White House, the Hill said.

The House last week overwhelmingly approved a bill that would make Ukraine eligible for U.S. loan guarantees but did not include IMF reform.

Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., has been pushing for the Senate bill to include language that would allow U.S. natural gas exports to Ukraine.

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