The House Financial Services Subcommittee on Monetary Policy and Trade today examined the U.S. role in the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the Obama Administration's request that Congress approve a larger U.S. quota contribution to the international organization.
In 2010, the IMF's Board of Governors agreed to reforms that would double the size of the IMF's quota resources and increase representation of emerging and developing countries at the IMF. The reform package cannot go into effect, however, until the United States and a supermajority of IMF countries formally approve it.
The IMF reforms may require Congress to appropriate funding since the U.S. quota would increase by about $63 billion.
Subcommittee members said the portrayal by Administration officials that this would require simply transferring $63 billion from one IMF account to another is incorrect.
"Withholding judgment for the time being on whether this change in policy is something Congress should authorize, I do feel that this Committee has an obligation to hardworking American taxpayers to fully understand the risks, benefits and continued Congressional oversight over the government's involvement in the International Monetary Fund. I firmly disagree with the Administration that this is simply a bookkeeping entry. Taxpayers would be taking on additional risk," said Subcommittee Chairman John Campbell (R-CA). "One of my goals with this hearing is to provide an opportunity for this Committee and the American public to better understand these subtle but meaningful distinctions."
The Obama Administration has not yet requested these new funds. In the President's recently submitted budget proposal for fiscal year 2014, a notation indicated the request would be submitted separately to Congress.
"To President Obama and his Administration, let me be very clear: This Committee is ready and willing to listen to your proposals with regards to international financial institutions, but recognize that we will consider them in the context of a fiscal consolidation to which you, I, and many other policymakers agreed. We would each be derelict in our duty to the taxpaying public to make one-off appropriations of large sums of money without being transparent in our budget priorities," Campbell added.