Cantor asking questions about our IMF money.

So. Last week, Representatives Cantor and Hoyer had a bit of an exchange over where the money we’re giving the International Monetary Fund is going. Cantor wants to know why we’re going to be giving countries that don’t like us at all the opportunity to take our money, and Hoyer wants to know why Cantor is ignoring the way that Hoyer is brandishing Reagan’s name like an apotropaic talisman:

CANTOR: Mr. Speaker, reclaiming my time. I will tell the gentleman, New York Times, May 27, 2009, pointed out Hezbollah, the Shiite militant group involved in Lebanon and its government, had talks with the IMF to discuss the possibility of the extension of credit…We are very, very concerned. There is a real possibility that some of the world’s worst regimes will have access to additional resources that will be provided to the IMF, and is he not concerned about that?

[possible snip: the Congressional Record transcript is down]

HOYER: The reason the Reagan administration and the first Bush administration–and I might say, although I don’t have a quote from the second Bush administration, the second Bush administration, as well, was a supporter of the IMF as the gentleman, perhaps, knows.

The fact of the matter is the United States will play a very significant role in the decisionmaking of the IMF because we’re a very significant contributor. It is a red herring, from my perspective, to raise the fact that money could go somewhere. Of course money could go somewhere.

…which Hoyer then followed up with this inadvertent comment, which the Hill’s Blog Briefing Room mercifully omitted:

Stoyer having apparently failed to answer the question of why the US Government is apparently all right with IMF money going to a Bad Place – Hoyer’s phrase; not mine – Cantor is asking again. Only this time, in writing.

Dear Speaker Pelosi, Leader Hoyer, and Chairman Frank:

Recently you have dismissed as “demagogic” and “scare tactics” concerns that have been raised by Democrats and Republicans alike that resources of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) could wind up in the hands of state sponsors of terrorism and other rogue states. Yet I am confident that if you believed that IMF resources were going to go to countries like Iran, Venezuela, Sudan, and Syria you would take all necessary steps to halt such transfers. I write today, because under an IMF proposal endorsed by the Administration on April 25th, resources will, without question, go to these countries.

The IMF has proposed, and the Administration has endorsed, an increase of $250 billion for the Special Drawing Rights (SDRs) of all IMF countries. As you are aware, SDRs are an IMF created currency that can be exchanged by member countries for low-interest loans of hard currencies, such as dollars. According to the IMF, this new SDR allocation will be made proportionally to all IMF members at a rate of approximately 77% of each IMF member’s quota. With an exchange rate of $1.55 per SDR, that means that Venezuela will receive a benefit worth up to $3.2 billion, Syria $350 million, Sudan, $202 million, Iran $1.8 billion, Bolivia $204 million, Myanmar $308 million, and Zimbabwe $421 million. Given that Venezuela, Zimbabwe, Sudan, and Myanmar have all historically converted much of their current SDR allocation into hard currency, we expect these countries in particular to turn this new SDR allocation into hard currency.

Under existing law, the Administration does not need Congressional approval for this proposal. The Administration only needs to notify certain Congressional Leaders prior to final IMF approval.

I respectfully request that you join me in requesting that the Administration withdraw their support for the IMF proposal to increase SDRs. I further request that any policies related to the IMF, such as those included in the pending war supplemental, be considered under regular order so that Members from both sides of the aisle have an opportunity to make whatever changes are necessary to ensure that resources are not provided to state sponsors of terrorism and other rogue states.


Eric Cantor
Republican Whip

Your move, Representative Hoyer. I for one can’t wait to hear why it’s a good idea to give almost two billion dollars of the American taxpayers’ money to the Ahmenidjad regime. And, oh, yes: we’re not in the Reagan, or either Bush administration, anymore.

More’s the pity.

Moe Lane

Crossposted to Moe Lane.