WASHINGTON - More than 130 academics and global policy pundits urged the US Congress on Monday to enact delayed changes in voting powers in the International Monetary Fund and warned that failure to do so would diminish US influence in the global financial lender.
The reforms were approved by the IMF in 2010 in a historic deal that makes China the third-largest voting member in the IMF after the United States and Japan. It also boosts the influence of other emerging economies like India and Brazil in the Fund and supports changes on the IMF board that reduces Western Europe's dominance.
The reforms, however, first need congressional approval because they involve making permanent a $65 billion US contribution to the Fund. That is a politically sensitive issue given the tense US budget environment in Washington and sweeping government spending cuts that came into effect from March 1.
"Positive action by the US Congress on both elements will also unlock financial contributions from other countries," said a letter to John Boehner, the speaker of the House of Representatives, and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.