House, Senate struggling to resolve the Ukrainian impasse

The Democratic-led Senate plans to begin voting Monday evening on legislation that packages aid to Ukraine with the approval of reforms by the International Monetary Fund sought by the Obama administration. But the House could vote by the end of the week on its own legislation that does not include the IMF provision, which House Republican leaders do not want tied to the Ukraine crisis.

The ongoing dispute over the IMF issue has prevented any assistance for Ukraine from making it to the president’s desk, undermining the stated desire of leaders in both parties for the U.S. to demonstrate a unified front in the face of Vladimir Putin’s aggression in Eastern Europe, where Russia formally annexed Crimea last week.

Unlike many battles in Congress, the differences holding up the aid are as much between the two chambers as they are between the two parties. In the Senate, key Republicans like Sens. John McCain (Ariz.), Lindsey Graham (S.C.) and Marco Rubio (Fla.) have said they would go along with the IMF provisions, despite reservations. In the House, however, senior Democrats on the Foreign Affairs and Appropriations committees are backing GOP legislation that does not include the IMF language.