Via NBC News:
South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham, R, offered his help with the GOP House of Representatives on a stalled Ukraine assistance bill in a hot-mic moment with Secretary of State John Kerry on Thursday.
After Kerry finished an appearance before the Senate Appropriations Committee, microphones caught Graham telling Kerry: “Hey John, good job! Let me know what I can do to help you with [GOP House Speaker John] Boehner.”
The House passed Ukraine assistance legislation earlier this week, but Senate leaders rejected it on Wednesday, making for a familiar bit of congressional gridlock. The House and Senate bills differ over reforms to the International Monetary Fund and sanctions on Russians involved in the incursion into Ukraine.
The House GOP has good reason to not pass the Senate version, it cuts money from the military and uses it to reform the IMF (Dem Sen. Bob Menendez snuck it in) which obviously has no place in a bill to help Ukraine.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., on Wednesday ruled out taking up the House-passed Ukraine loan guarantee bill, saying it was inadequate in the face of a Senate version that passed out of the Foreign Relations Committee today.
“No, no,” Reid said when asked if the Senate could just take up the House-passed bill, “Because the House bill doesn’t have sanctions in it and doesn’t have the money we need.”
The Senate version includes the loan guarantees for Ukraine already included in the House-passed version, but the Senate bill also includes IMF quota reform, and sanctions for those involved in Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
House Republicans believe the Senate should just take up the bill they passed last week, with some charging that cuts to the military that are used to pay for provisions in the Senate bill need to be removed before they can support it.
“Senator Menendez’ bill to fund reforms at the IMF on the backs of our troops is just looney,” House Armed Services Committee Chairman Buck McKeon, R-Calif., said in a statement, “I will strongly oppose it if it comes to the House.”
But Senator Lindsay Graham, R-S.C., pushed back, saying he would support the bill “because we need to get on with it as a nation.”
“I want to help the army as much as anybody, but this is a national security crisis, we’ve gotta move on with it,” Graham told reporters, “If he can find a better offset great.”