Report: IMF will seek to bypass U.S. Congress

By David Bosco

For several years now,  states that are members of the International Monetary Fund have been waiting for Washington. Specifically, they have been waiting for the U.S. Congress to approve a package of voting and governance reforms negotiated with fanfare in 2010. Several times, the Obama administration has sought unsuccessfully to get the package through Congress, which must approve the measure because it involves the reapportionment of U.S. funds. According to this report, IMF chief Christine Lagarde’s patience has just about run out:

Ms. Lagarde said in January the [IMF] board will consider options that might be able to sidestep Capitol Hill.

Even so, IMF rules require the U.S., as the fund’s largest and most powerful shareholder, to approve any changes to the lender’s governance structure. That’s why alternative options would still likely require the Obama administration to approve any alternative option.

Doug Rediker, a former U.S. representative to the fund’s executive board who’s now a fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics, said one option already being informally discussed is for the fund’s membership to negotiate a new deal to restructure IMF governance without linking it to boosting the fund’s regular lending account. Although the U.S.’s appointed executive board member would have to approve it, such an arrangement would not require congressional ratification.

About David Bosco

Assistant Professor at American University's School of International Service. Contributing editor at Foreign Policy magazine. Author of Rough Justice: The International Criminal Court in a World of Power Politics and Five to Rule Them All: The UN Security Council and the Making of the Modern World
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