Congress sends Ukraine aid bill to Obama's desk

A bill proving a $1 billion loan guarantee to Ukraine and sanctions to Russia is on its way for President Obama's signature.
By Gabrielle Levy  |  April 2, 2014 at 10:25 AM
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WASHINGTON, April 2 (UPI) -- The House voted Tuesday night to send legislation for President Obama's signature to provide a $1 billion loan guarantee to Ukraine and put in place new sanctions on Russia.

Voting 378-34, the House action ended weeks of wrangling over the contents of the bill, which passed in the Senate last week 98-2.

The Senate's original bill included reforms of the International Monetary Fund, and a disagreement over whether to keep the language threatened to derail what was otherwise a strong bipartisan effort to send a unified message to Russia's President Putin.

“Passage of this bill allows Congress to speak with one voice in support of the Ukrainian people and against Russian aggression,” said Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., a co-author of the bill and the ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. “Along with our European partners, the U.S. must demonstrate long-term resolve to deter any further Russian intervention in Ukraine and the region, including imposing additional economic sanctions that will exact real costs for Putin’s actions in Crimea.”

Press Secretary Jay Carney said the president "welcomed" the unified move from Congress.

"This legislation will allow us to provide crucial support to Ukraine through loan guarantees that will facilitate access to needed financing to Ukraine as it takes essential steps to restore economic stability and return to growth and prosperity," Carney said in a statement.

In a separate bill the House also approved a Senate measure, 399-12, providing funds to Voice of America and Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty to step up their broadcasts in the region. Rep. Ed Royce, R-Calif., said Russians have taken over television and radio stations in Crimea and are using them to falsely accuse Ukrainians of attacking Russian speakers in their country.

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