News / USA

US Congress to Act Soon on Ukraine Aid, Russian Sanctions

FILE - Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ).
FILE - Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ).
Michael Bowman
— Prospects are improving for U.S. congressional approval of an aid package for Ukraine and sanctions against Russia, as House and Senate lawmakers resolve differences between the chambers. A bill could be ready for President Barack Obama's signature by week's end.

Capitol Hill is rife with bipartisan desire to respond to Russia’s annexation of Crimea, and congressional action has never been in serious doubt.

"The world is watching," said Democrat Robert Menendez, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. "And the world’s superpower cannot be seen as incapable of rising to Russia’s challenge."

But the exact formulation of a bill to assist Ukraine and punish Russia hit a partisan snag earlier this week.

Some Republicans objected to a provision in a bill before the Democratic-led Senate that would have shifted U.S. contributions to the International Monetary Fund so as to facilitate IMF loans to Ukraine and other nations in times of duress. Democrats and the Obama administration defended the measure as beneficial to Ukraine and the global financial system. Skeptical Republicans said it would impose costs on U.S. taxpayers.

While Senate debate dragged on, leaders in the Republican-led House of Representatives signaled the provision would not pass their chamber. Late Tuesday, Senate Democrats conceded defeat and dropped the IMF measure.   

“You are going to get your way today," Menendez told his Republican colleagues. "And I would hope that the rest of this package - which provides a $1 billion loan guarantee to Ukraine, that provides sanctions against the Russian regime and others who corrupted the previous Ukrainian government and who have violated its territorial integrity - all other elements of this legislation should have universal support."

Republicans who objected to the IMF provision applauded the move. Final Senate passage is expected early Thursday. On the other side of the Capitol, House Speaker John Boehner promised swift action.

“We are in conversations with the Senate in terms of how we clear through this. Our goal is to work together and get this bill done as quickly as possible," he said.

Boehner said he wants Congress to give Obama tools that “put him in as strong a position as possible” to deal with the crisis in Ukraine.

Whether the House simply votes on the Senate bill or passes its own version that would have to go back to the Senate remains to be seen. Both chambers must pass identical versions for a bill to become law.

You May Like

China Investigates Former Powerful Security Chief

Former security chief and member of Politburo Standing Committee, Zhou Yongkang, under investigation for suspected 'serious disciplinary violation' More

India, US Look to Reset Ties During Kerry Visit

This week's talks will be first high level interaction between two countries since Prime Minister Narendra Modi took charge More

Video Young African Leadership Program Renamed to Honor Mandela

YALI program, launched by President Obama in 2010, aims to build skills in business, entrepreneurship, public management and civic leadership More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spati
X
Reasey Poch
July 28, 2014 7:18 PM
China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video ESA Spacecraft to Land on a Comet

After a long flight through deep space, a European Space Agency probe is finally approaching its target -- a comet millions of kilometers away from earth. Scientists say the mission may lead to some startling discoveries about the origins of the water on earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Africans Arrive in US for Leadership Program

President Barack Obama's Young African Leadership Initiative has brought hundreds of young Africans to the United States for a six-week program aimed at building their knowledge and skills in fields such as public administration and business. Out of the 50,000 young Africans who applied for the program, just one percent was accepted. VOA's Laurel Bowman caught up with some of those who made the cut and has this report.
Video

Video In Honduras, Amnesty Rumors Fuel US Migration Surges

False rumors in Central America are fueling the current surge of undocumented young people being apprehended at the U.S. border. The inaccurate claims suggest the U.S. will give amnesty to young migrants from the region. As VOA's Brian Padden reports from Honduras, these rumors trace back to President Obama's 2012 executive order to halt deportations for some young undocumented immigrants already living in the United States.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid