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House will likely OK $18 billion for IMF

SHARE House will likely OK $18 billion for IMF

The House is likely to approve the Clinton administration's long-delayed request for $18 billion for the International Monetary Fund now that the Asian financial crisis and a new loan to Russia have depleted its resources.

Majority Leader Richard Armey, R-Texas, predicted the full amount eventually would be approved after initial indications Republicans would allocate only $3.5 billion for a new IMF emergency fund and delay action on $14 billion for the organization's main account."In the end I suppose they (the IMF) will pretty much get as much money as they are looking for with as little accountability as they desire," Armey said in a speech Wednesday to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

Armey has been working with a group of lawmakers in the House who have been critical of IMF policies and have demanded changes in how the institution operates.

He said that by offering countries "bailout packages of enormous size, often at low interest rates, the IMF creates an incentive for reckless investment and irresponsible government policies."

Armey said a new $12.5 billion IMF loan to Russia announced Monday proved his point.

Until now the House has been divided over whether to meet the Clinton request.

"I will continue to keep putting this on the table, as I have done for one year," Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., a House sponsor of the IMF funds, said Wednesday after a House subcommittee voted to slash President Clinton's request to $3.5 billion.