Peterson Institute publications
The Peterson Institute for International Economics is a private, nonprofit, nonpartisan
research institution devoted to the study of international economic policy. More › ›
RSS News Feed Search

Policy Brief 09-12

US Interests and the International Monetary Fund

by C. Randall Henning, Peterson Institute for International Economics

June 2009

View full document [pdf]

C. Randall Henning
audio Listen to related interview
The US Congress is now considering legislation to approve President Obama's pledge, made at the G-20 London summit in April, to increase the US commitment to the International Monetary Fund (IMF). This pledge is part of a collective effort by the G-20 leaders to triple the resources available to the IMF so that it can better respond to the ongoing global economic crisis. To this end, President Obama has submitted a four-part package to Congress for approval. The package would increase the US quota contribution to the IMF by about $8 billion, raise an emergency line of credit for the Fund by nearly $100 billion, endorse the IMF's plan to endow an investment fund through sales of some of its gold reserves in order to provide for its operational expenses, and approve a special allocation of the IMF's synthetic reserve asset, Special Drawing Rights (SDRs).

C. Randall Henning analyzes the politics and policy merits of the IMF legislation before Congress through a discussion of the IMF's role in the international monetary system, its relationship to US interests, and the congressional record of past IMF legislation. He argues that the present financial troubles have only increased the need for strong US support of the Fund. The IMF reflects the economic policy interests of the United States more faithfully than perhaps any other international institution and congressional action should reflect this basic convergence of interest. Failure to support the IMF now would not only hamper global and US recovery from the current crisis, but it would also undermine US influence, both within the IMF and in international relations generally.


Policy Brief 14-9: IMF Reform Is Waiting on the United States March 2014

Policy Brief 13-7: The Congress Should Support IMF Governance Reform to Help Stabilize the World Economy March 2013

Book: A Strategy for IMF Reform February 2006

Working Paper 11-5: Integrating Reform of Financial Regulation with Reform of the International Monetary System February 2011

Policy Brief 10-29: Strengthening IMF Surveillance: A Comprehensive Proposal December 2010

Working Paper 10-14: Reform of the Global Financial Architecture October 2010

Testimony: The Role of the International Monetary Fund and Federal Reserve in the Stabilization of Europe May 20, 2010

Op-ed: How the Fund Can Help Save the World Economy March 5, 2009

Article: Economists Seek IMF Reform January 26, 2009

Policy Brief 07-1: The IMF Quota Formula: Linchpin of Fund Reform February 2007

Op-ed: The IMF Should Heed This Resignation July 25, 2012