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July 1, 2015

IMF Overhaul Fight Returns for Another Round, After Defeat During Ukraine Debate

The Senate version of the fiscal 2015 State-Foreign Operations spending bill would renew the fight to overhaul the International Monetary Fund’s structure sought by President Barack Obama, which earlier this year lead to a standoff between Democrats and most Republicans over legislation to help Ukraine before the language was removed.

The bill, approved by the Senate Appropriations Committee on Thursday, would direct the U.S. representative of the IMF Board of Governors to agree to a set of changes that were proposed in 2010. Those changes would give more power to developing countries, such as China, India and Brazil, and would double the IMF’s financial resources. The quota increases for all IMF member nations — including Ukraine — would allow them to borrow more from an emergency assistance fund.

Aides from the Senate Appropriations Committee and the office of State-Foreign Operations Subcommittee Chairman Patrick J. Leahy, D-Vt., confirmed that the bill would authorize a $63 billion increase to the U.S. contribution to the International Monetary Fund’s quota and rescind an equal amount from U.S. contributions to an IMF account set up after the 2008 financial crisis to provide stability.

In the past Republicans have refused to back the IMF quota changes on the worry that it could diminish U.S. influence in the organization, among other reasons.

By law,  the U.S. cannot change its IMF quota without congressional approval and, in some cases, an appropriation that the Congressional Budget Offices scores based on financial risk. The bill would authorize $315 million for the U.S. quota increase.

Amrita Khalid covers legislative action for CQ Roll Call. Tim Starks contributed to this report.

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