Progressive Democrats We Can Believe In

Can Jane Hamsher's internet army teach Rahm Emmanuel and Timothy
Geithner a lesson about accepting the input of progressive Democrats?
That would be change I could believe in. Here she makes the case
against progressive Democrats caving in to leadership pressure that
they vote for the War/IMF Supplemental:

Here's the lesson I want Rahm Emmanuel and Timothy Geithner to learn.
To paraphrase another President from Illinois: you can piss on all of
the progressive Democrats some of the time, and some of the
progressive Democrats all of the time, but you cannot piss on all of
the progressive Democrats, all of the time.

What makes the present situation particularly outrageous is this: the
White House and the House leadership now want progressive Democrats in
the House to abandon their constituents, their commitments, and their
principles and vote for the War/IMF supplemental. But when progressive
Democrats tried to have input into the process earlier, they were
locked out by the leadership, on orders from the White House and
Treasury.

Representative Jim McGovern tried to introduce an amendment on the war
supplemental requiring the Pentagon to submit to Congress an exit
strategy from Afghanistan. But McGovern's amendment was not even
allowed to be considered. As a freestanding bill [H.R.2404],
McGovern's amendment has 85 Democratic and Republican co-sponsors.

Representative Maxine Waters and forty other Democrats presented a
package of commonsense reforms to U.S. policy at the International
Monetary Fund. But they were not allowed by the House leadership to
offer any amendments - that was the whole point of sneaking $108
billion for the IMF into the Senate version of the supplemental - to
evade normal legislative process in the House.

On Thursday, House-Senate conferees made their deal on the war
supplemental. They agreed to include Treasury's request for $108
billion dollars for the International Monetary Fund, the bulk of which
will almost certainly be used for full bail-outs of European banks
from their risky bets in Eastern Europe.

But in the conference report, the House-Senate conferees did not agree
to any of the four demands for IMF reform put forward by 41 House
Democrats, led by Representative Maxine Waters.

On June 3, 40 other Democrats joined Waters in sending a letter
to the House appropriators, asking for IMF reform language to be
included in any IMF appropriation.

Specifically, the 41 Democrats asked for:

- language to ensure that the funds allocated by Congress
for global stimulus are used for stimulatory, and not contractionary,
purposes. [That is, the money should not be used as leverage to demand
austerity policies such as government budget cuts and high interest
rates.]

- language requiring the U.S. Executive Director to the IMF to
ensure that some of the revenue from the planned gold sales and/or
other sources of income will be used to provide at least $5 billion in
non-debt-creating assistance to the world's poorest countries - either
via debt relief or grants.

- language requiring the U.S. Executive Director to the IMF to
ensure parliamentary approval of all IMF loans. [So that IMF
agreements can't be used to undermine democratic process in recipient
countries.]

- language to ensure greater transparency and public availability
of documents within a reasonable time period. [So that people can see
what government officials - from developed as well as developing
countries - are doing in IMF board meetings and in negotiating
agreements mandating changes to government policy in recipient
countries.]

A summary of the conference report is here.
The full conference report is here.

Here's what the summary says about the IMF:

International Monetary Fund (IMF)

1. To enable the IMF to respond to grave threats to the
stability of the international monetary system, particularly in
developing countries severely impacted by the financial crisis, the
bill provides an increase in the U.S. quota in the IMF of roughly 5
billion in Special Drawing Rights valued at about $8 billion. The bill
also provides for loans to the IMF, as requested, to enable the U.S.
to increase its share of the New Arrangements to Borrow, which
establishes a set of credit lines extended to the IMF, from
approximately $10 billion (6.6 billion in SDRs) to the equivalent of
$100 billion.

2. The bill authorizes the Secretary of the Treasury to agree
to the sale of nearly 13 million ounces of IMF gold which will finance
an endowment the return on which will fund a portion of IMF
administrative expenses and expand the IMF's investment authority. A
portion of the sale of gold (at least $4 billion) would also be used
to address the short-term financing needs of low-income countries.

As you can see, there is no mention in the summary of policy reforms
on ensuring that IMF funds go for stimulus rather than economic
contraction, no mention of transparency, no mention of parliamentary
approval. [There's no mention of these issues in the full conference
report either - the IMF part starts on page 142.] Regarding low-income
countries, the summary refers to "short-term financing," implying
loans that would add to poor country debt, rather than debt relief and
grants, as 41 Democrats called for in their June 3 letter. Moreover,
even this figure is $4 billion, 20% less than called for in the June 3
letter.

Thus, the demands 41 Democrats made on June 3 regarding the IMF
appropriation have been ignored. If these Democrats want to be taken
seriously by Treasury about IMF reform, they should vote no on the war
supplemental with the IMF funding included. If they vote yes, they're
communicating to the U.S. Treasury Department that they're not willing
to fight for their demands. And that would validate Treasury's
longstanding view that it can safely ignore progressive Democrats in
Congress regarding U.S. policy at the IMF and the World Bank.

If progressive Democrats vote no, and the IMF funding is defeated,
then Treasury will have to go through normal Congressional process to
get the money. And that would mean that the criticisms of the 41
Democrats would get a full airing, and they would have an opportunity
to try to amend the legislation.

Twenty-two of these 41 Democrats voted no on the war supplemental in
May. Here's what we know about their positions now, thanks to FireDogLake:

Tammy Baldwin: expected to vote no again.

Yvette Clarke: expected to vote no again.

John Conyers: expected to vote no again.

Donna Edwards: expected to vote no again.

Keith Ellison: current position uncertain.

Sam Farr: expected to vote no again.

Bob Filner: certain to vote no again; signed a Dear Colleague letter
with Dennis Kucinich against IMF funding in the supplemental.

Alan Grayson: expected to vote no again.

Raul Grijalva: expected to vote no again.

Luis Gutierrez: expected to vote no again.

Michael Honda: current position uncertain.

Jay Inslee: expected to vote no again.

Dennis Kucinich: certain to vote no again; signed letters against war
funding and IMF funding in the supplemental.

Barbara Lee: expected to vote no again.

John Lewis: expected to vote no again.

James McGovern: certain to vote no again; told the Wall Street
Journal
he was voting no.

Donald Payne: current position uncertain.

Jan Schakowsky: current position uncertain.

Maxine Waters: expected to vote no again.

Diane Watson: expected to vote no again.

Mel Watt: current position uncertain.

Lynn Woolsey: certain to vote no again; signed a letter with Kucinich
against the war funding.

To summarize: Keith Ellison, Michael
Honda
, Donald Payne, Jan
Schakowsky
, and Mel Watt voted no on the war
supplemental in May, and then signed a letter saying that money for
the IMF should have IMF reforms attached. But with the House now
scheduled to vote early next week on the same war supplemental with
money for an unreformed IMF, they have yet to state that they will
vote no. If you would like to ask them where they stand, you can use
FDL's "Citizen
Whip Tool
."

Eighteen of the 41 Democrats who wrote against funding an unreformed
IMF voted for the war supplemental in May (one of the 41 was a
non-voting Member.) Here's what we know about their positions now:

Robert Brady: expected to vote yes.

Corinne Brown: current position uncertain.

Andre Carson: current position uncertain.

Danny Davis: current position uncertain.

Chaka Fattah: current position uncertain.

Marcia Fudge: expected to vote yes.

Charles Gonzalez: current position uncertain.

Al Green: current position uncertain.

Phil Hare: current position uncertain.

Alcee Hastings: expected to vote yes.

Maurice Hinchey: current position uncertain.

Jesse Jackson: expected to vote yes.

Sheila Jackson-Lee: expected to vote yes.

Carolyn Maloney: current position uncertain.

Gwen Moore: current position uncertain.

Charles Rangel: current position uncertain.

Laura Richardson: current position uncertain.

Robert Scott: current position uncertain.

Disturbingly, not one of this second group of Members, who wrote in
opposition to IMF funding without reform, has yet to say that they
will back up that position with their vote. If you want to ask them
about it, you can do so here. If
you'd like to write a letter to your local newspaper against the
War/IMF Supplemental, you can do that here.