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U.S. Lawmakers Snub IMF Resources Request as Reform Held Up

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Jan. 13 (Bloomberg) -- Lawmakers left out of their $1.01 trillion spending bill a request by the Obama administration to increase the International Monetary Fund’s resources, leaving the U.S. unable to deliver on a 3-year-old commitment.

The decision was announced today in an e-mailed statement from House Appropriations Committee Chairman Hal Rogers, a Republican from Kentucky.

The Treasury Department has been seeking for months to boost the U.S.’s share, or quota, at the Washington-based IMF by shifting about $63 billion from an existing credit line. As legislators negotiated the bill, which would cover government spending through Sept. 30, the request was mentioned by Rogers last week as one of the unresolved issues.

The U.S. is holding up the 2010 agreement by all of the IMF member countries, then totaling 187, to double the fund’s lending capacity to about $733 billion. The package would also give emerging markets such as China more clout at the institution, which was set up at the end of World War II to help ensure stability of the global monetary system.

“The United States remains committed to implementing the 2010 quota and governance reforms, and we are examining options to do so as soon as possible,” Treasury spokeswoman Holly Shulman said in an e-mailed statement, describing the administration as “disappointed” by the decision. “The IMF is critically important to U.S. economic and national security interests.”

Bailout Fund

The administration has argued that the IMF, which in recent years rescued economies including Greece and Pakistan, has helped mitigate financial crises from the Middle East to Europe.

“As the world’s first responder to financial crises, the IMF protects the U.S. recovery and promotes America’s strategic interests abroad, while supporting U.S. jobs, exports, and financial markets,” Shulman said.

The Senate, where Democrats have a majority, took up Treasury’s request last year. Their spending bill would’ve appropriated $315 million for it. The Republican-controlled House left it out.

At a Dec. 12 hearing, House Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling, a Texas Republican, told Treasury Secretary Jacob J. Lew that “many Americans question the wisdom of supporting the IMF and other multilateral financial institutions that take their hard-earned dollars and use them to bail out other countries.”

To contact the reporter on this story: Sandrine Rastello in Washington at srastello@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Chris Wellisz at cwellisz@bloomberg.net

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