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Dems drop IMF requirements in Ukraine bill

IMF reform language to be dropped from Senate Ukraine aid bill.
By Gabrielle Levy Follow @gabbilevy Contact the Author   |   March 25, 2014 at 6:00 PM
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WASHINGTON, March 25 (UPI) -- Majority Leader Harry Reid said he would drop a provision demanding International Monetary Fund reforms from the Senate version of the bill to send aid to Ukraine, citing a need for expediency and little chance of compromise from the House.

“I feel very strongly about IMF reform; we need to get that done,” Reid said Tuesday. “But this bill is important. As [Secretary of State] John Kerry said yesterday, he wants both of them but the main thing is to get the aid now. So I’m following John Kerry’s lead.”

The Nevada Democrat expressed disappointment that the bill, which he hopes will be passed by Wednesday at the latest, would not include reforms to the IMF that would send additional funds to Ukraine.

“As much as I think a majority of the Senate would like to have gotten that done with IMF in it, it was headed to nowhere in the House,” Reid said.

“We are deeply disappointed by the news that Republican opposition has forced the Senate to remove the reforms from the Ukraine assistance package,” said Treasury Department spokeswoman Holly Shulman.

Republicans controlling the House had refused to include the IMF language without demanding other concessions, including language delaying IRS regulations of nonprofit political groups.

The decision was cheered by the GOP in the Senate, including Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., who saw Reid's concession as an opening for more debate on the content of the bill.

“I think we ought to have some more amendments, but I do think we ought to wrap the bill up this week,” McConnell said. “There’s a strong bipartisan feeling that we need to do an aid package for Ukraine and do it soon."

Reid, for his part, poured cold water on the idea.

“This is quite remarkable to me,” Reid said. “I don’t know when enough is enough. We’re going to finish this week. So there’s only a limited amount of time that we have.”

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