Recent severe drops in the equity markets, which analysts say have been largely caused by investor nervousness over the economic crises in Russia and Asia, might give momentum to passage of controversial funding legislation for the International Monetary Fund (IMF). As part of a fiscal 1999 appropriations bill, the Senate this week is debating the Administrations $18 billion request for the agency, which includes a special $3.4 billion fund to deal with foreign economic crises.
The Senate is expected to go along with the request, but strong opposition remains in the House, where many conservatives believe that IMF bailouts of troubled economies have been ineffective. House Majority Leader Dick Armey (R, Tex.) insists that any renewed funding legislation require the IMF to undertake management reforms. The House Appropriations Committee will take up the measure next week.
Industry groups strongly support the increased funding.