Representatives García, Ocasio-Cortez, and Jayapal Urge Secretary Yellen to Oppose IMF Surcharge Policy

January 10, 2022
Press Release

Representatives García, Ocasio-Cortez, and Jayapal Urge Secretary Yellen to Oppose IMF Surcharge Policy


WASHINGTON, DC – Today Representatives Jesús “Chuy” García (IL-04), Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (NY-14), Pramila Jayapal (WA-07), and 15 Members of Congress, sent a letter to Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen urging her to use the voice and vote of the United States at the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to abolish the IMF’s surcharge policy, which requires countries with substantial or longstanding debts to the IMF to pay considerable fees on top of their debt servicing costs.


The World Bank expects the pandemic to increase global poverty for the first time in twenty years and push up to 115 million people into extreme poverty. Meanwhile, debtor countries are expected to owe more than $4 billion in surcharge payments to the IMF— on top of interest payments and fees— between the start of the COVID-19 pandemic and the end of 2022.

“As the Omicron variant devastates our country, the need for a global and equitable recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic is clearer than ever. Unfortunately, the IMF’s unfair and counterproductive surcharge policy punishes developing countries and undermines the IMF’s mission of promoting sustainable economic growth and reducing poverty around the world,” saidCongressman García. “At a time when countries around the world should be focused on this public health crisis, these surcharges divert billions of dollars into the IMF’s pockets here in Washington and prevent an equitable recovery.”


"A global pandemic is not over until it is over everywhere," said Congresswoman Jayapal. "It is not only America's moral responsibility to quickly unleash the resources necessary to defeat this deadly virus abroad, but doing so will also keep us safe at home. We must eliminate the IMF’s surcharge policy that endangers public health, jeopardizes our global recovery from COVID-19, and destabilizes international structures that are crucial for tackling other major crises."


Co-signers of the letter include Representatives Adriano Espaillat (NY-13), Ilhan Omar (MN-05), Rashida Tlaib (MI-13), Eleanor Holmes Norton (DC-00), Earl Blumenauer (OR-03), Jan Schakowsky (IL-09), Raul M. Grijalva (AZ-03), Barbara Lee (CA-13), James P. McGovern (MA-02), Betty McCollum (MN-04), Sara Jacobs (CA-53), Karen Bass (CA-37), Mondaire Jones (NY-17), Ro Khanna (CA-17), and Judy Chu (CA-27).


This letter is endorsed by Oxfam America, AFL-CIO, Center for Economic and Policy Research, Demand Progress, Friends of the Earth USA, ActionAid USA, Unitarian Universalist Service Committee, Mennonite Central Committee USA, and Action Corps.


A copy of the letter can be found here.

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