- The Washington Times - Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Sen. John McCain, Arizona Republican, said Wednesday that he’s “a little embarrassed” by some in his party who are insisting that reforms to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) be stripped from legislation to aid Ukraine and sanction Russian and Ukrainian officials involved with the unrest in the region.

“Congress has a role, and right now they are not playing it,” Mr. McCain told Fox News. “In my view, [members] are showing a lack of appreciation for what’s going on by placing a priority on an IMF fix which, frankly, is not that big a deal compared with a unified response to what has taken place in Ukraine.”

Language backed by the White House that would shift about $63 billion from an IMF emergency account was included in a sanctions package advanced last week by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, but some Republicans, including House Speaker John A. Boehner of Ohio, have said the IMF reforms shouldn’t be part of a Ukrainian aid package.

“I’m a little embarrassed, frankly, by some of my Republicans’ attitude of placing a higher priority on IMF reform over sending a signal and providing the assistance that Ukraine needs, including military assistance,” Mr. McCain said.

Mr. McCain said he’s disappointed but that he hopes the Senate will pass an aid package when it returns from recess, come to an agreement with the House and “move forward.” The House has advanced its own loan package without the IMF language.

Mr. McCain also reiterated his criticism of the Obama administration for the “weakness” of its initial response to Russia’s moving to annex Crimea.