03.24.2014 0

Ukraine aid hangs in balance so Obama can funnel $63 billion to the IMF

IMFBy Robert Romano

A $1 billion loan guarantee to support the government of Ukraine is being held up in the U.S. Senate, which wants to attach an unrelated additional $63 billion in new quota money for the International Monetary Fund (IMF)—an institution that has been busy bailing Europe out of its sovereign debt crisis the past four years.

“There is absolutely no reason to hold up Ukraine aid, needed to support the nascent government there, so that Obama can give another $63 billion to the IMF to bail out bankrupt governments like Greece and the banks that foolishly lent them money,” Americans for Limited Government (ALG) President Nathan Mehrens expressed in a statement issued on March 21.

To date, the U.S. via IMF has already lent $35.8 billion to debt-strapped countries. That is out of $65 billion quota that has already been made available, plus a $100 billion credit line that the Pelosi-Reid Congress created in 2009.

If anything, the $100 billion credit line should be revoked, an issue likely to come up later this year in the House of Representatives in legislation anticipated to be offered by House Republican Conference Chair Rep. Kathy McMorris-Rodgers (R-Wash.). Doubling our current $65 billion quota subscription does just the opposite. But, Congress can argue about that later.

If the McMorris-Rodgers plan were attached to the House version of the Ukraine aid bill, the barriers to passage would likely be the same in the Senate.

The fact is, there is a perfectly clean version of the same bill from the House offered by Republicans that the Senate could consider.

Besides, isn’t Ukraine’s predicament bad enough without having an aid program get sidetracked in such a highly contentious issue? “Russia has annexed Crimea, and is threatening Ukraine, a U.S. ally. That is more than enough cause for Congress to consider the clean House aid bill to Ukraine on its merits,” Mehrens noted.

Even the Washington Post editorial board has urged Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to take up the House bill, decrying the gamesmanship in trying to force unrelated IMF funding into the legislation intended to support Ukraine.

“As a result, aid that should be moving urgently to Ukraine is bogged down in partisan bickering on Capitol Hill,” the Post writes, adding, “The White House and Senate Democrats are more to blame for picking this fight than is the House GOP for waging it.”

The Post even offered that “House Republican opposition to the IMF reform plan was perfectly foreseeable, and, in light of current events, not entirely unreasonable. The reform plan would subtract slightly from the United States’ and Europe’s voting power within the institution, while adding to that of a bloc including China and Russia, of all countries.”

So, to add insult to injury, in a bill that is supposed to help Ukraine, Harry Reid wants to give Russia and China more clout on the international stage.

“It is time for Harry Reid to stop playing Washington, D.C. politics in the face of geopolitical threats. It is irresponsible to hold Ukraine aid hostage while that country’s fate very much hangs in the balance, and it is embarrassing,” ALG’s Mehrens concluded.

Robert Romano is the senior editor of Americans for Limited Government. 

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