Given the events unfolding in Ukraine, the important role the United States has in providing economic support for the Ukrainian government, together with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and our international partners, has become even more urgent. While delivering a statement on the ongoing situation in Ukraine today, President Obama highlighted this issue by calling on Congress to quickly approve IMF legislation that would enable the United States to do just that:
"Today, once again, I’m calling on Congress to follow up on these words with action, specifically to support the IMF’s capacity to lend resources to Ukraine and to provide American assistance for the Ukrainian government so that they can weather this storm and stabilize their economy, make needed reforms, deliver for their people, all of which will provide a smoother pathway for the elections that have already been scheduled in May."
While delivering testimony at two Congressional hearings this week about the President’s budget for Fiscal Year 2015, Secretary Lew took time to explain the economic assistance we are planning to provide Ukraine and the vital role of the IMF in that effort. Here is what he said at the House Ways and Means Committee hearing today:
"…The United States has developed a package of bilateral assistance focused on meeting Ukraine’s most pressing needs. This package will include $1 billion in loan guarantees and IMF quota legislation, which would support the IMF's capacity to lend additional resources to Ukraine and help preserve continued U.S. leadership within this important institution at a critical time.
While the United States will not increase our total financial commitment to the IMF by approving the 2010 reforms, it is important to note that for every dollar the United States contributes to the IMF, other countries provide four dollars more.
At a time when the U.S. is at the forefront of international calls in urging the Fund to play a central and active first responder role in Ukraine, it is imperative that we secure passage of IMF legislation now so we can show support for the IMF in this critical moment and preserve our leading influential voice in the institution."
Treasury Deputy Assistant Secretary for Europe and Eurasia Daleep Singh also urged Congress to boost the resources of the IMF at a House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing today. As Bloomberg News reports, Singh said, “For the United States to continue playing a leading role in international support efforts for Ukraine, centered on the IMF, one of the most significant steps we can take is to pass the 2010 package.”
To learn more about Treasury’s work with the IMF visit here
Anthony Reyes is the New Media Specialist at the United States Department of the Treasury.