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Reid says GOP may have helped Russia annex Crimea

Posted by on Mar. 25, 2014 at 8:41 AM
  • 9 Replies

WASHINGTON (AP) — Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said Monday that Republicans may have helped Russia annex Ukraine's Crimean Peninsula in a surprisingly sharp attack ahead of a test vote on a bill authorizing more U.S. sanctions on Russia and $1 billion in loan guarantees to Ukraine.

Outlining the Senate's agenda after a one-week recess, the Nevada Democrat said the first item would be the Ukraine bill that Republicans blocked just before lawmakers went on break. He urged Republicans to consider "how their obstruction affects United States' national security as well as the people of Ukraine" and said their delay of any congressional action "sent a dangerous message to Russian leaders."

"Since a few Republicans blocked these important sanctions last work period, Russian lawmakers voted to annex Crimea and Russian forces have taken over Ukrainian military bases," Reid said. "It's impossible to know whether events would have unfolded differently if the United States had responded to Russian aggression with a strong, unified voice."

Reid's charge comes despite widespread support among Republicans and Democrats in Congress for providing Ukraine with much-needed economic assistance and hitting Russian President Vladimir Putin's government with sanctions.

And GOP Senate aides noted the House has passed different legislation, meaning the Senate bill could not have become law before recess anyhow. They blamed Reid and Democrats for blocking the Senate from taking up the House legislation.

The biggest dispute separating the two chambers appears to be inclusion in the Senate bill of reforms of the International Monetary Fund, which the United States, Europe and others are working with to stabilize Ukraine's economy. The IMF's 2010 reforms increase the power of emerging countries in the lending body and shift some $63 billion from a crisis fund to a general account it can use for economic stabilization operations around the world.

Although the bill is likely to pass the 60-vote threshold Monday evening to move forward, Reid's tone suggests a compromise with the GOP-controlled House may prove difficult.

Republicans have long spurned the administration's attempt to ratify the IMF changes, saying they'd increase the exposure of U.S. taxpayers in foreign bailouts managed by the fund. Making the shift now, opponents such as Sens. Rand Paul and Marco Rubio argue, would also marginally increase Russia's voting power over the fund's finances.

The Obama administration and Democrats counter that unless the U.S. approves the new rules, Washington will lose its influence at the IMF and hamper the body's ability to avert economic meltdowns in places precisely like Ukraine. The U.S. is the only major country that has yet to sign off.

Reid said Republicans blocked the bill to "protect the anonymity of their big-money donors" such as the Koch brothers, two of America's wealthiest men who've strongly supported conservative causes. He was referring to an unsuccessful attempt by some Republicans to include an amendment to the bill halting new IRS regulations on groups claiming tax-exempt status.

"Republicans objected to moving forward with this aid package unless Democrats agreed to allow the Kochs and billionaires like them to continue to anonymously spend millions trying to buy America's democracy," Reid said. "It's hard to believe. But that's the truth."

by on Mar. 25, 2014 at 8:41 AM
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by on Mar. 25, 2014 at 10:56 AM
2 moms liked this

Both parties are the same, and the sanctions were and are a joke. 

This is a silly stretch for one party to look better than the other party, when in reality they both suck.  Just about everything Harry Reid says is a joke, and it is hard to take him seriously.

As far as the protecting the anonymity of big money donors, neither party would be against that when it came down to it.  The Koch brothers and the republican equivalent of George Soros, so give me a break.  Both parties are corrupt and neither really gives a flip about the everyday middle class American citizen.

by Ruby Member on Mar. 25, 2014 at 12:37 PM
3 moms liked this

Reid is a low down piece of opportunist shit.

by on Mar. 25, 2014 at 1:59 PM
1 mom liked this

Indirectly the Republicans did contribute - by not electing a strong Conservative President to replace the weak imposter currently in office.

by Christy on Mar. 25, 2014 at 7:03 PM

Are not there always war mongers? This is why the rich like wars. Acting in this manner is an investment with heavy returns.

by Platinum Member on Mar. 26, 2014 at 6:13 PM

 If have to ask:  what would have been done differently by a conservative "strong" President?  if they did not do anything before this Crimea thing, then what would have been done?  Sanctions? for what, put them in place just in case they decide to do anything?  War, another one we cannot afford, nor do most people want, but dammit they need to know we are tough.  Please I am truly curious to know the correct answer, because obviously noone else knows anything but republicans.

Quoting crazycane:

Indirectly the Republicans did contribute - by not electing a strong Conservative President to replace the weak imposter currently in office.


by Gold Member on Mar. 26, 2014 at 6:38 PM
3 moms liked this

If the House doesn't act on Reid's legislation the GOP are obstructionists.     But if Reid doesn't act on their legislation  that's not obstructionism  because he disagrees with their legislation.     Even when that legislation would have done effectively the same thing!             This is getting old.     Time to put this old coot out to pasture.

by Member on Mar. 26, 2014 at 8:33 PM
1 mom liked this

Here is the deal, Crimea VOTED to suceed from the Ukraine. The population is mostly Russian. Russia did not invade and steal the country. The people voted. And if you read up on the region, you will find a huge influx of Muslims moving into the region, taking over slowly. I think Crimea was smart in seperating and becoming part of Russia.  Just like the plane that was lost 3 weeks ago, the pilots, while oriental, converted to Islam and see what happened!!!! We had nothing to do with this and Ried is worried about getting re-elected. 

by Ruby Member on Mar. 26, 2014 at 11:06 PM
1 mom liked this

I'm glad they blocked sanctions.  I am so tired of the US deciding to police the rest of the world.  What they do over there is NONE of our business.

by New Member on Mar. 28, 2014 at 2:45 AM
Harry Reid is a partisan embarassment to my fine state. It seems he gets crazier by the year, and every time he opens his mouth I feel like apologizing to the nation that my state produced him. Russian has always been an aggressor. Plain and simple. They don't care about sanctions.
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