Talk about awkward timing:
While the Obama administration is struggling with sequester-mandated cuts that are nipping into everything from air traffic control to combat-pilot training, it has also tucked a one-time $65 billion pledge to the International Monetary Fund in the most recent budget resolution sent to Congress.
The administration has asked lawmakers to approve a permanent increase in the U.S. contribution to the agency — a step the fund has been waiting on for about three years so it can move ahead with other changes approved in 2010. Those changes have since been ratified by most of the rest of the world.
As it stands, the United States — the fund’s largest shareholder and a blocking vote for any major reforms like this — is the only holdout to what is a broader and carefully crafted deal. Along with more money for the IMF, the changes would shift voting power within the organization so that big developing nations such as China and Brazil get more say in IMF affairs. It would also let developing nations in general replace a few old-line European countries on the fund’s executive board.