"Ukrainian sovereignty cannot be violated for looking westward and
embracing ideals rooted in freedom," Senator Robert Menendez, a New
Jersey Democrat, wrote in a column in The Washington Post, in which
he laid out details of the Ukraine bill he plans to introduce.
The bill echoes one passed by the U.S. House of Representatives last
week in backing $1 billion in loan guarantees for Ukraine, he said.
But it would also authorize $50 million for democracy, governance
and civil society assistance, as well as $100 million for enhanced
security cooperation for Ukraine and other states in Central and
Eastern Europe, he said.
And it provides for sanctions, in addition to those announced by
President Barack Obama via executive order last week against
Ukrainians and Russians, and imposes sanctions on Russians
"complicit in or responsible for" what Menendez termed "significant
corruption" in Ukraine. The bill also directs President Barack
Obama's administration to help Ukraine's government in identifying
and recovering assets linked to corruption by ousted Ukrainian
president Viktor Yanukovich.
The bill also includes reforms for the International Monetary Fund,
something requested by the Obama administration but resisted by many
Republican members of Congress. Tennessee Senator Bob Corker, the
top Republican on the foreign relations committee, had said earlier
on Tuesday that the committee was near agreement on its Ukraine
bill, but was held up by disagreement over whether to include the
The delay had raised concerns that the Senate might not pass a
Ukraine bill before leaving Washington for next week's one-week
recess. Separately, Senate leaders began the process of introducing
the House bill, which includes only the loan guarantees, for a vote
in the Senate.
It was not immediately clear how many Republicans on the committee
would back the legislation as proposed by Menendez. A committee
spokesman said committee members were still negotiating what would
be in the package. Senator John Barrasso, a Republican of Wyoming,
said earlier on Tuesday he would introduce an amendment to expedite
the supply of natural gas from the United States to Ukraine. But the
measure is given little chance of being passed in the Senate, where
it is not expected to bring the Kiev government quick relief.
Corker said he hoped a Ukraine bill would pass before Congress
leaves for next week's recess.
If approved by the Senate, Menendez's bill would have to pass the
House of Representatives before being sent to President Barack Obama
for his signature.
[to top of second column]
The Obama administration has been pushing Congress for a year to
approve a shift of $63 billion from an IMF crisis fund to its
general accounts to maintain U.S. influence at the lender and make
good on a commitment from 2010. (Full Story
The House passed a
bill last week backing $1 billion in loan guarantees for Ukraine. It
did not include the IMF funding. Some Republicans worry about the
fund's lending to richer European nations and possible losses on IMF
Some Senate Republicans said members of the party in the House
wanted to trade the IMF funding for a change in tax rules the Obama
administration proposed for certain tax-exempt groups, which they
see as an effort to unfairly target conservative organizations.
House Republicans declined comment on the IMF measure, noting that
they had already passed Ukraine legislation. Senator John McCain, an
Arizona Republican and senior foreign relations committee member,
said the bill should not be held up by the IMF issue.
"There should be nothing that impedes the Congress from speaking on
the issue of Russia invading another country," he said. "If it's in
or if it's out, none of that matters to me. What matters to me is
that we get the message out."
In the House, a symbolic resolution condemning Russia's action in
Ukraine passed by a 402-7 margin on Tuesday. The resolution "is a
very important declaration of support for the people of Ukraine
during this crisis, condemning in clear and unmistakable terms
Russia's unprovoked aggression," said Republican Representative Ed
Royce, chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee.
(Additional reporting by Timothy Gardner, Anna Yukhananov and
Patrick Temple-West; editing by G Crosse, Leslie Adler, Peter Cooney
and Ken Wills)
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