Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) was caught on a hot mic Thursday telling Secretary of State John Kerry to let him know how he could “help” with House Speaker John Boehner.
Kerry had just testified before the Senate Appropriations Committee on the need to provide Ukraine with economic assistance amid its turbulent transition following the ouster of former President Viktor Yanukovich.
Both House and Senate Republicans have expressed opposition to the proposed bill, mainly over a provision that would give unused U.S. Military money to the International Monetary Fund (I.M.F.).
Graham was offering “help” in working with Boehner over his and other House Republicans’ opposition to the Senate’s version of the Ukraine aid package, a spokesman told TheBlaze.
“Let me know what I can do to help you with Boehner,” Graham is heard saying on the hot mic.
Watch the video below:
Kevin Bishop, a spokesman with Sen. Graham’s office, told TheBlaze the comments were no different than what he told the New York Times in an article published on Wednesday. He provided this portion of the piece:
…A group of officials from President George W. Bush’s administration sent a letter of support on Wednesday signed by Condoleezza Rice, the former secretary of state; Paul H. O’Neill and John W. Snow, the former treasury secretaries; Tom Ridge, the former homeland security secretary; and Stephen J. Hadley, the former national security adviser.
Senator Lindsey Graham, Republican of South Carolina, said he was trying to persuade House Republicans to support the I.M.F. changes.
Graham told the New York Times, “International organizations like the I.M.F. can provide stability at a time we really need it.”
We also asked if Sen. Graham supports the Ukraine/I.M.F. aid bill as proposed, using unused military funds. Bishop provided another excerpt, this time from a Daily Beast article.
“But SASC member Lindsey Graham said he supported the legislation as it is and would fight to keep the IMF reform provisions in the bill, even though he was not thrilled about taking the money away from the military,” the article states.
However, if the funding dispute could not be resolved, the IMF reform section could be taken out of the bill, Graham said.
“If you can let the Ukrainian people know that help is on the way, it doesn’t matter if the bill is voted on two or three weeks from now,” he told the Daily Beast. “But if I had to pick something or nothing, I would say take it out.”
The Associated Press has more information on the aid bill:
The Senate was unlikely to vote before leaving for recess Thursday evening on a bill approving $1 billion in loan guarantees to Ukraine, sanctions on Russia and International Monetary Fund reforms. Four Republicans backed it as the Foreign Relations Committee voted 14-3 in favor Wednesday.
At the same time, House Speaker John Boehner urged the Senate anew Thursday to adopt House-approved legislation for the loans, without sanctions or IMF provisions. But many House Republicans reject expanding the IMF’s lending capacity, which every other major country has approved. They say it increases U.S. taxpayer exposure; the counterargument is it immediately releases money for Ukraine.
Other Republicans oppose paying for the loans with unused military money