U.S. Treasury Secretary Jacob J. Lew will testify in Congress about the International Monetary Fund next week, just as a disagreement over a provision to increase the lender’s resources threatens to delay an aid package to Ukraine, according to an aide on the House Financial Services Committee.
The March 26 hearing is an annual appearance by the Treasury chief to discuss the state of the international financial system, according to the aide, who asked not to be named because the event hasn’t been publicly announced.
The Obama administration is pushing to include an IMF provision in the Ukraine aid legislation discussed in Congress to make good on a 2010 international agreement that the U.S. has been delaying. The measure, which would boost the U.S. share, or quota, at the Washington-based IMF, is opposed by House Republicans who have left it out of their bill. It is in the Senate’s proposed legislation, which hasn’t been passed yet.
“At a time when the United States is at the forefront of international calls in urging the fund to play a central and active first responder role in Ukraine, it is imperative we secure passage of IMF legislation now,” Lew said last week before the Senate Budget Committee.
The Senate bill would authorize $1 billion in loan guarantees and sanctions against Ukrainians and Russians deemed responsible for corruption and violence. It would increase the U.S. quota by shifting about $63 billion from an existing credit line.
The 2010 agreement, which House Republicans refused to include in a spending bill in January, would also increase the quotas of emerging-market economies to better reflect their global economic weight.
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