Harry Reid: GOP 'May Have Helped' Russia Annex Crimea
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) said Republican senators may have helped "Russia annex Ukraine's Crimean Peninsula" by blocking legislation containing new sanctions against Russia prior to a March 14th Senate break.
In an AP report, GOP Senate aides noted that the House and Senate versions of sanctions differed so much that no bill could have passed before March 14th without "taking up the House legislation" – but Reid refused to allow House legislation to be taken up.
Moreover, Reid also didn't mention that the Senate bill includes "reforms of the International Monetary Fund" (IMF) which the administration has been trying to get the GOP to embrace since 2010. Senate Republicans fear the changes would "increase the exposure of U.S. taxpayers in foreign bailouts managed by the fund." Instead, Reid said Republicans are rejecting the IMF reforms "to protect the anonymity of their big-money donors."
In the end, Senator John McCain (R-AZ) rallied enough Republicans "to join Democrats in passing a cloture vote" late on the 24th. This "sets the stage" for passage of the Senate bill later this week.
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