(Bloomberg) Republicans in Congress want to add language to a U.S. aid plan for Ukraine that would block a proposed IRS rule curbing political activity by tax-exempt groups, Senator Bob Corker said Tuesday.
Corker, the top Republican on the Foreign Relations Committee, said the proposed Internal Revenue Service measure was one of the unresolved issues facing lawmakers working to complete a Ukraine aid package in time for the panel to consider it Wednesday.
The other was whether to add a boost in International Monetary Fund resources that President Barack Obama’s administration has requested, Corker said.
“Everything else is in good shape,” the Tennessee senator said. “The package relative to Ukraine itself is, I think, in good shape.”
Republicans are reviving a failed effort earlier this year to link language delaying the proposed IRS rule with the IMF funding increase. Both provisions eventually were dropped from legislation to fund the U.S. government through Sept. 30.
The House approved, on a 402-7 vote, a nonbinding resolution calling for sanctions against Russian officials and state-owned banks in response to what the measure calls a “violation of Ukraine’s sovereignty.”
The Senate also unanimously passed a resolution, S.Res. 378, condemning Russian aggression in Ukraine.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and other Republicans say the proposed IRS rule would wrongly suppress free speech. It could limit political spending by outside groups that receive tax exemptions as non-profit social welfare organizations.
The House on Feb. 26 passed legislation, which Obama has threatened to veto, that would delay that rule for a year.
John Koskinen, the IRS commissioner, told a House subcommittee the same day that the chances of completing the rule before this November’s election were “fairly slim.” He said the agency will hold a public hearing and may solicit more comments.
The IRS timeline means that the bill wouldn’t create much of a delay beyond what will happen anyway.
Pairing the IRS and IMF provisions may help ease Republican opposition to the IMF assistance. Obama’s fiscal 2015 budget plan, sent to Congress March 4, would boost the U.S. share, or quota, at the Washington-based IMF by shifting about $63 billion from an existing credit line.
—With assistance from Sandrine Rastello and Richard Rubin in Washington