Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Congress More Interested in Hillary's emails than IMF Reforms?

US Treasury Secretary Jack Lew told the US Congress once again that they need to pass the IMF reforms package. Their was a very brief mention of this on Rueters. Interestingly, Russia Today carried a much more in depth article on it and even noted the the Congressional Committee seemed more interested in hearing about Hillary Clinton's emails than about the IMF reforms.

We will continue to follow this story over time.  Below are quotes from the Russia Today article:

"Facing the House Financial Services Committee on Tuesday, Secretary of the Treasury Jack Lew testified as to the importance of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank to US economic and political influence around the world.
Our investments in these institutions promote our strategic interests and international stability,” Lew told lawmakers. “Every dollar of our participation leverages four more from other member countries.”
. . . . .
"The Treasury’s warnings come as a number of Washington’s European allies expressed interest in a new international investment bank created by Beijing last year. London recently said that it would join the $50 billion Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), with major European states following suit despite protests from Washington."
International financial institutions such as the IMF and the World Bank “effectively leverage our limited resources in service of our national and global interests,” Lew told the lawmakers. If the IMF decides to proceed without US approval, the result would be “a loss of US influence and our ability to shape international norms and practices,” he said.
However, the Congressional committee seemed far more interested in asking Lew about Hillary Clinton’s emails, since he served as one of her deputies at the State Department between January 2009 and November 2010."
My added comments:

A couple of things to note here. One is that this article clearly ties in the recent move by the UK and some EU nations to the new Chinese bank suggesting that should put pressure on the US Congress. The second is the comment by Secretary Lew that begins with "if the IMF decides to proceed without US approval. . . "

Readers here who have followed this story for over a year on the blog know that there have been repeated threats to bypass the US Congress, but so far nothing has actually been done despite several "deadlines" being given to Congress to act. The next time this is scheduled to surface is sometime this summer so we will continue to follow it and see if anything new happens this time. 

One can't help but be amused that Congress seemed more interested in Hillary Clinton's emails than the IMF reforms. It doesn't look like Congress plans to change its mind on this issue based on that response. And this article in Economic Times appears to confirm that.

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