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Republican opposition to IMF funds delays war spending

world Updated: Jun 05, 2009 11:12 IST

AFP
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US House Democrats said on Thursday they would not vote this week on a war supplemental spending bill after Republicans balked at funding for the International Monetary Fund.

The 91.3-billion-dollar measure, which includes funds for President Barack Obama's 21,000-troop increase in Afghanistan, had been scheduled for a vote on Friday, but a Democratic aide told AFP that the House of Representatives would likely not take up the measure until next week.

The House voted on a first draft of the bill last month but the Senate tagged an additional eight billion dollars for the US funding of the IMF and a new 100-billion-dollar emergency line of credit for the 185-nation institution, prompting stern opposition from House Republicans.

Both houses of Congress, where Democrats enjoy broad majorities, must reconcile their versions before the funds can be released.

House Republican Leader John Boehner called the plan "lunacy."

"We may be able to borrow enough money to solve America's problems, but I guarantee you, we don't have enough money to solve the rest of the world's problems. And going down this path is going to lead to more economic harm here," he told reporters.

"We're going to provide the International Monetary Fund 108 billion dollars that we don't have. So we're going to borrow 108 billion dollars from the Chinese, we're going to give it to the IMF and we're going to expect our kids and grandkids to pay for it. Americans aren't buying this."

The number two in the House of Representatives, Minority Whip Eric Cantor, meanwhile claimed that the IMF funding could help finance terror.

"Handing over billions to the IMF not only saddles young Americans with more debt, but could fund terrorist activity -- a complete affront to our troops combating terrorism across the globe," he said in a statement Tuesday.

But House Speaker Nancy Pelosi shot back, calling the charge "a scare tactic."

The IMF, she said, "can be a force for alleviating the fury of despair among people, poor people throughout the world. It's a very important national security initiative."