This vote was on an amendment by Jim DeMint, R-S.C., that would have stricken provisions for increased funding for new U.S. commitments to the International Monetary Fund. The amendment was offered to the bill that would appropriate supplemental spending in fiscal 2009 for the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.
DeMint said this bill contains language that would, in effect, extend an additional line of credit worth $108 billion to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), to help other nations blunt the effect of the financial crisis.
“We can debate whether that is a good thing, but what the President has asked for, and this bill provides, is an additional $100 billion credit line, in effect, to the International Monetary Fund, and it ups our deposit another $8 billion. But then we make appropriators out of the International Monetary Fund. We give them a permanent credit line of an additional $100 billion that they can appropriate anytime they want around the world,” DeMint said. “ Let’s think about this $100 billion. That is more than we spend as a Federal government on transportation all year. It is more than we spend on education for a whole year—$94 billion in our country. It is more than we spend on veterans’ benefits. It is a lot of money.”
John Kerry, D-Mass., said the bill would establish a loan over which the United States keeps control, and it must be renewed every five years. He also noted that the provision has broad bipartisan support.
“We are part of the decision-making of any lending that might take place under this. It is renewable under the New Arrangements for Borrowing Agreement, renewable every 5 years. If we do not renew it, it comes back. Moreover, it is only used in emergency if the other funds of the IMF run down,” Kerry said. “This is for American workers. We have a lot of people in America whose jobs depend on their ability to export goods. The fact is, if those emerging markets start to fade, not only do we lose the economic upside of those markets but we also run the risk that governments fail.”
By a vote of 30-64, the amendment was rejected. Of Republicans present, 27 voted for the amendment and 12 voted against it. All but two Democrats present voted against the amendment. The end result is that the measure went forward with provisions for a $108 billion line of credit for the International Monetary Fund intact.