IMF funding issue delays US Congress Ukraine bill

March 12, 2014 01:58

WASHINGTON - US lawmakers debated on Tuesday whether to include a shift in funding for the International Monetary Fund in a bill to address the crisis in Ukraine, raising concerns that the measure could be delayed for weeks.

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee had hoped to vote on Tuesday on a package that aides said would include aid for Ukraine and sanctions, as well as $1 billion in loan guarantees.

Members have been unable to agree on the IMF funding, which was requested by the Obama administration but is opposed by many Republican lawmakers.

Senator Bob Corker, the top Republican on the foreign relations panel, said he supported the IMF measure but did not think it should hold up a Ukraine bill.

"If we cannot get that done as part of this package, instead of holding the package up, I'd rather go ahead and pass the Ukraine-specific issues," he said.

Ukraine's government appealed for Western help on Tuesday to keep Russia from annexing Crimea, but the Black Sea peninsula, overrun by Russian troops, seemed fixed on a course that could formalize rule from Moscow within days.

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