The United States should support the Ukraine during the ongoing escalation with Russia. But in the process, America shouldn't give up its international influence and pick up the tab for $63 billion in international aid that has nothing to do with the crisis in Ukraine. That was the message of U.S. Senator Mike Enzi, R-Wyo., who voted against moving forward to the Ukraine bill because it included unrelated measures that could diminish our country's influence at the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
The Ukraine bill authorizes security, financial, and technical support for Ukraine, but also makes changes to the United States' role at the IMF and how much the United States contributes to the international body. These changes to the IMF have no place in the bill, according to Enzi, because they are not related to Ukraine. The changes were initially proposed by the IMF in 2010 and are supported by the Obama Administration but have not gained traction in Congress until now.
"I am extremely concerned with the situation in the Ukraine. Action must be taken against Russia, but that doesn't mean Congress should blindly sign off on a bill that diminishes America's international influence while costing us more than $60 billion," said Enzi. "This should be an opportunity to support one of our allies at a critical moment, but instead is being used to sneak through provisions that have not been able to pass through the regular legislative process."
Enzi favors an open amendment process that would allow for votes on proposals to remove the IMF reform sections, expand natural gas exports to Ukraine, among others.
The Senate voted 78-17 in favor of moving forward with the bill and will continue consideration on the Senate floor this week.