| WASHINGTON, April 17
WASHINGTON, April 17 Global finance leaders will
do a stocktaking of IMF voting power changes when they meet in
Washington this week amid concerns that a key IMF reform package
is being held up in the U.S. Congress, a tough sell in a tight
Without mentioning the United States, IMF Managing Director
Christine Lagarde on Wednesday repeated a call to member
countries to approve the 2010 package, which would boost the
voting power of emerging countries like China and India that
have long called for more say in the IMF to reflect their
growing economic might.
The voting power issue will be discussed by the Group of 20
developed and emerging countries and by the IMF's steering
panel, the International Monetary and Finance Committee,
starting on Friday.
"There isn't really much new in terms of issues on the
table," a senior International Monetary Fund official, speaking
on condition of anonymity, told reporters.
"As soon as the U.S. approves it, it will come into effect.
Certainly the view of the membership is that it should happen as
soon as possible, and that is certainly our view, and the U.S.
is also committed to getting it done," the official said.
While approval of the package is being delayed by the United
States, there has been little progress since January among
countries on agreeing a new formula for calculating members'
The official acknowledged that further discussions hinged on
updated economic data due in June.
The 2010 deal was meant to have been fully authorized by
countries in October last year. But the Obama administration put
off asking Congress to fund it last year to avoid controversy
before the November presidential elections.
Some countries believe that delays in the voting reform
package and in compiling a new formula will set back the next
phase of major vote changes due in January 2014.
The United States has repeatedly said it is committed to the
2010 agreement, a thorny issue for some lawmakers who argue that
the U.S. money for the IMF should go toward safeguarding
domestic programs that are being cut.
Last week President Barack Obama asked Congress to shift $63
billion of U.S. money from an IMF crisis fund to permanently
boost U.S. funding to the IMF.
The request, which would further enhance America's clout
within the IMF, will be considered as the appropriations
committees start their work in deciding fiscal 2014 funding
levels for government agencies and discretionary programs.
Some congressional aides have said U.S. approval of IMF
money is unlikely before October.
New Treasury Secretary Jack Lew, testifying recently at a
hearing on the president's 2014 budget proposal, argued it was
in the interest of the United States to maintain its leadership
in the IMF and a veto power over policy decision.
"We have a veto in the IMF, we have a controlling voice when
we need to, we have leverage so that the United States can
influence the economic decisions around the world, and it is
something that our international leadership depends on," Lew
told the hearing.