Both the Senate and the House voted overwhelmingly Thursday to approve separate bills to impose sanctions on Russia for its incursion into Crimea and offer $1 billion in aid for Ukraine's fledgling interim government.
Reconciling differences between each chamber's approach – often a complicated process, particularly in recent years – is expected to be swift and would give President
The House voted 399 to 19 on its standalone sanctions bill, just as the Senate was voting 98 to 2 to advance a bill that essentially combines that sanctions legislation with a separate House-passed measure making loan guarantees for Ukraine.
The Senate's vote removed what had been a contentious provision to approve International Monetary Fund reforms sought by the Obama administration. Republicans had argued that the changes were unrelated to Ukraine and unnecessarily delaying what should have been an immediate and forceful response by Congress to Russia's military incursion.
Both parties celebrated Thursday's action.
"We responded very loudly today, not only in support of the Ukraine financially, but also in the series of sanctions,"
"We have provided the president additional tools to punish Vladimir Putin, his cronies, and the institutions that support them," House Speaker
Menendez said the House will probably take up the Senate-passed bill, with approval possible by a voice vote before week's end, according to congressional aides. The Senate will consider a provision favored by