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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
AUGUST 15, 2002
11:19 AM
CONTACT:  Congressman Bernie Sanders
Joel Barkin 202-225-4115
Sanders: $30 Billion IMF Bailout for Brazil is a Windfall to Banks, A Disaster for US Taxpayers
Congressmen Calls on Congress for Investigation
 
BURLINGTON, VERMONT - August 15 - Congressman Bernard Sanders (I-VT), the Ranking Member of the International Monetary Policy and Trade Subcommittee, today called for an immediate Congressional investigation of the recent $30 billion International Monetary Fund (IMF) bailout of Brazil. Sanders, who is strongly opposed to the bailout and considers it corporate welfare, wants Congress to find out why U.S. taxpayers are being asked to provide billions of dollars to Brazil and how much of this money will be funneled to U.S. banks such as Citigroup, FleetBoston and J.P. Morgan Chase. These banks have about $25.6 billion in outstanding loans to Brazilian borrowers. U.S. taxpayers currently fund the IMF through a $37 billion line of credit.

Sanders said, "At a time when we have a $6 trillion national debt, a growing federal deficit, and an increasing number of unmet social needs for our veterans, seniors, and children, it is unacceptable that billions of U.S. taxpayer dollars are being sent to the IMF to bailout Brazil. This money is not going to significantly help the poor people of that country. The real winners in this situation are the large, profitable U.S. banks such as Citigroup that have made billions of dollars in risky investments in Brazil and now want to make sure their investments are repaid. This bailout represents an egregious form of corporate welfare that must be put to an end. Interestingly, these banks have made substantial campaign contributions to both political parties."

Sanders noted that the neo-liberal policies of the IMF developed in the 1980's pushing countries towards unfettered free trade, privatization, and slashing social safety nets has been a disaster for Latin America and has contributed to increased global poverty throughout the world. At the same time that Latin America countries such as Brazil and Argentina followed these neo-liberal dictates imposed by the IMF, from 1980-2000, per capita income in Latin America grew at only one-tenth the rate of the previous two decades.

Sanders continued, "The policies of the IMF over the past 20 years advocating unfettered free trade, privatizing industry, deregulation and slashing government investments in health, education, and pensions has been a complete failure for low income and middle class families in the developing world and in the United States. Clearly, these policies have only helped corporations in their constant search for the cheapest labor and weakest environmental regulations. Congress must work on a new global policy that protects workers, increases living standards and improves the environment."

Sanders is the author of the Global Sustainable Development Resolution that among other things calls for the United States to condition funding for the IMF, the World Bank and other International Financial Institutions on support for labor rights, environmental protection, decent living standards, and support for small and medium-sized local enterprises.

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