|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:||CONTACT: CHRISTI HARLAN|
|Thursday, March 9, 2000||202-224-0894|
Sen. Phil Gramm, chairman of the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs, made the following statement at today's full committee hearing on the final report of the International Financial Institution Advisory Commission:
"When Congress provided $18.2 billion of the taxpayers' money for the International Monetary Fund, we insisted on a set of reforms. I would have to say that the IMF's policies are so opaque that it's very difficult for me to determine to what extent those reforms have been seriously considered, much less implemented.
"One of the things that we included in the conference report that accompanied the legislative language providing the money was a requirement that there be an outside review of the IMF and other international financial institutions. I want to thank our panelists for their leadership in doing that review and making this report today.
"My great frustration with the World Bank and the IMF and with our general foreign assistance programs is that I don't really believe they work very well. And when I look at taking money away from taxpayers like Dicky Flatt, a printer in Mexia, Texas, I have a hard time justifying that money being spent on programs that I don't believe work.
"If I believed we did have good programs, given the poverty that exists in the world, I could justify it.
"In the closing hours of the last session of Congress, we made an agreement with the administration to begin the cancelling of debt for countries that have no hope of paying back the debt. I want to congratulate Senator Mack for his leadership on that.
"In the negotiations, we decided to do part of the IMF debt cancellation and give the committee an opportunity later this year to write legislation providing the other portion of the IMF debt cancellation. My inclination is study very carefully the report of the commission and to use that legislation to implement necessary reforms."