Fifth District - New Jersey
2469 Rayburn House Office
Building/Washington, D.C. 20515 (202) 225-4465
J. Craig Shearman
January 30, 1998
Roukema: Funding IMF is Not a Bailout
Funding of the International Monetary Fund is in the interest of the United States and not a bailout of Asian economic problems, House Financial Services Subcommittee Chairwoman Marge Roukema, R-N.J.-5th, said today.
"This is in our own self-interest," Roukema said at a Banking Committee hearing on the IMF. "This is not foreign aid or bailing out banks."
"With the financial future of Asia uncertain, a depleted IMF may not be able to respond to a currency crisis that could have grave consequences in the United States," Roukema said. "There is no dispute over the importance of the global marketplace on the economy and the job market of the United States. The recent market crisis in Asia sent shockwaves through the American stock markets and the drop in Asian markets created an atmosphere on Wall Street that sent the Dow tumbling."
"The most immediate threat to our own economy is the Asian financial crisis," Roukema said. "The Congressional Budget Office has warned that a significant worsening of the Asian crisis could spread worldwide and cut back jobs in the United States."
"New Jersey firms have not yet felt a widespread impact," Roukema said. "But the expectation is that they will in the coming months. These are real, hard-working, tax-paying Americans and they will feel the bite of the Asian contagion here at home and on the job."
Roukema noted that New Jersey is closely linked to the Asian economy, exporting $5 billion in goods to the Far East each year. A full 25 percent of New Jersey exports go to Japan, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Singapore, China and elsewhere in Asia. Major New Jersey manufacturing firms along with a wide range of financial services companies providing jobs for thousands of New Jersey residents have extensive financial dealings with Asia.
The House voted late last year to delete $3.5 billion for the IMF as part of an effort to reach a compromise on passage of the controversial $13.1 billion Foreign Operations Appropriations Act. Roukema has been a leader in efforts to restore the funding. She has pressed House Speaker Newt Gingrich and other key members of the House leadership and committee chairman to fund the IMF.