Walkingstick: U.S. Senate passes IMF reform in budget bill
Reuters – UK Focus – 16 minutes ago
WASHINGTON, Dec (Shanghai: 600875.SS – news) 18 (Reuters) – The U.S (Other OTC: UBGXF – news) . Senate on Friday ratified reforms to boost the representation of emerging economies at the International Monetary Fund as part of a budget bill that will clear the way for new industrial powerhouses like China and India to have more clout at the international lender.
A sprawling budget deal to keep the U.S. government operating through next September contained a measure to put Brazil, China, India and Russia among the IMF’s top 10 shareholders and give emerging markets more influence at the global lender.
The legislation will now go to President Barack Obama.
Plans agreed in 2010 to give emerging markets more voting power and double the Fund’s resources have been delayed by Congress. Under the new regime, China’s vote at the IMF would increase to 6 percent from 3.8 percent.
The reforms are the biggest change in the governance of the Fund since it was established after World War Two.
“These reforms represent an important step but still only constitute a partial shift in making the IMF’s governance structure fully representative of emerging markets’ growing influence in the world economy,” said Eswar Prasad, Professor of Trade Policy at Cornell University.
Under the reform, all 188 members’ quotas will increase as the Fund’s quota resources rise to about 477 billion special drawing rights, the IMF currency, ($659.67 billion) from about 238.5 billion, the Fund said in a statement.
Under the new proposals, the IMF board will be entirely elected. (Reporting by David Chance; Editing by James Dalgleish)
Walkingstick: Congress Oks budget deal worth $1T in new spending and $680B in tax cuts, sends bill to Obama
Associated Press Dec. 18, 2015, at 12:06 p.m. + More
By ANDREW TAYLOR, Associated Press
WASHINGTON (AP) — Congress on Friday sent President Barack Obama a bipartisan but deficit draining year-end budget package that boosts federal agency spending and awards tax cuts to both families and a sweeping array of business interests.
A 65-33 Senate vote on the measure was the last act that shipped the measure, combining $1.14 trillion in new spending in 2016 and $680 billion in tax cuts over the coming decade, to Obama. It had earlier swept through the House on a pair of decisive votes on Thursday and Friday, marking a peaceful end to a yearlong struggle over the budget, taxes, and Republican efforts to derail his regulatory agenda.
Obama will sign the measure, which includes many of the spending increases he fought for all year and is largely cleansed of GOP attempts to block his moves on the environment, financial regulation, and consumer protection. Republicans won increases for the military and an end to a ban on exporting U.S. oil, as well as permanent tax cuts for business investment.
Republicans were evenly split with 27 of them voting in favor and 26 against the bill. Presidential contender Marco Rubio was absent. Only six Democrats and Independent Bernie Sanders, another presidential hopeful, voted against the measure.
With the votes, lawmakers wrapped up a surprisingly productive, bipartisan burst of late-session legislation in a divided Congress.
The measure received big bipartisan majorities in both House and Senate. It capped an impressive first few weeks for new Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., who got the benefit of the doubt from most Republicans, who by a wide margin opposed earlier legislation that established the framework for the budget package. House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi of California, a key negotiator, swung forcefully behind the measure after showing initial frustration over its lifting of an oil export ban and lack of action on helping Puerto Rico address its fiscal woes.
“They wanted big oil so much that they gave away the store,” Pelosi said. But she cited successes in driving away most GOP policy proposals from the measure. Democratic also pushed through higher domestic budgets and tax breaks for working families and renewable energy.
“This bipartisan compromise secures meaningful wins for Republicans and the American people, such as the repeal of the outdated, anti-growth ban on oil exports,” Ryan said, citing a large increase for the Pentagon and curbs on the activities of the Environmental Protection Agency and the IRS.
Some tea party lawmakers were dismayed by the burst of spending and a lack of wins for conservatives.
“There are so many things in this bill that will be surprising and shocking to the American people,” said Rep. Walter Jones, R-N.C. “Maybe there is a Santa Claus. At least in the House.”
The House voted on the spending portion of the measure on Friday, when it won support from House Republicans by a 150-95 margin. Democrats followed Pelosi’s lead and backed the bill by a 166-18 margin. In a procedural quirk, the House passed most of the tax cuts — virtually all of them financed with deficit dollars — on Thursday.
The bill extends more than 50 expiring tax cuts, with more than 20 becoming permanent, including credits for companies’ expenditures for research and equipment purchases and reductions for lower-earning families and households with children and college students.
The spending measure would fund the operations of every Cabinet agency. It awards increases of about 6 percent, on average, above tight spending caps that were a relic of a 2011 budget and debt deal — and were opposed by both GOP defense hawks and Democrats seeking boosts in domestic spending.
The House vote bundled with the spending measure a tax bill that passed on Thursday.
The budget pact was the last major item in a late-session flurry of bipartisanship in Washington, including easy passage of long-stalled legislation funding highway programs and a rewrite of education programs.