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Screen shot of final vote tally on cloture for Ukraine aid/Russia sanctions.
After two weeks of delay, caused by Republicans playing politics, the Senate has cleared the cloture hurdle for a Ukraine aid bill, 78-17. In addition to providing assistance to Ukraine and sanctioning Russia for its invasion of Crimea, the bill includes some IMF reform that has proved controversial with Republicans.
The Senate package would shift $63 billion from the IMF’s crisis account to its general fund and make good on a 2010 agreement to give nations such as China, Brazil and India more influence at the organization. The Obama administration also says including the IMF reforms will help boost lending capacity to Ukraine.

Though the Senate is likely to approve the package, the IMF changes caused plenty of consternation there. Many Republicans are seeking to delay new administration rules that crack down on political activity of tax-exempt nonprofits—called “501(c)(4)s”–in exchange for supporting the package. Democrats seized on that to accuse Republicans of blocking assistance to a nation in turmoil. […]

Many congressional Republicans see the IMF changes as an unnecessary component of Ukraine aid and have either called on Democrats to drop their demand for the IMF provisions, or have floated the possibility of exchanging those reforms for delaying the campaign-finance rules.

Because they'll take any hostage they possibly can, even assistance to Ukraine. But getting it past Senate Republicans might have been the easy fight here, because the House has already voted on one proposal for Ukraine aid that doesn't include the IMF language, and as of now doesn't intend to include it in a second package it is likely to take up Tuesday. The barrier for Republicans seems to be that the administration has requested the IMF reforms. That, and they have a chance to try to take a hostage.

Meanwhile, what had been the G-8, the group of leading industrialized nations has become the G-7, as the leaders of the nations have suspended Russia after 15 years of that country's participation in the group, and have chosen to meet in Brussels rather than attend the scheduled summit in Sochi. You can read the G-7 statement, the Hague Declaration, here.

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