Reps. García, Schakowsky and Takano Re-Introduce the Robust International Response to Pandemic Act to Support Needed Assistance for Developing Countries

February 12, 2021
Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Today Representatives Jesús “Chuy” García (IL-04), Jan Schakowsky (IL-09), and Mark Takano (CA-41) re-introduced the Robust International Response to Pandemic Act. The bill directs United States representatives to multilateral development banks, such as the World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF), to assist developing countries as they fight COVID-19.

Senator Durbin introduced a companion bill in the Senate two weeks ago.

“The emergence of new strains of COVID-19 around the world makes it clearer than ever that a global recovery effort is needed to protect our own country. I’m re-introducing the Robust International Response to Pandemic Act to ensure the IMF has the ability to provide critical currency support that helps developing countries avoid destabilizing their economies in times of crisis,” said Congressman Jesús “Chuy” García. “The safety of Americans depends on the ability of the global community to fight the virus, and this bill will allow them to do it without plunging into a recession.”

“This pandemic has sent our global economy into freefall and has been especially devastating to developing countries,” said Congresswoman Schakowsky. “This is a time for bold action like the Robust International Response to Pandemic Act, which will ensure that developing countries can finally get the help they need from our international financial institutions. I look forward to passing this critical legislation to help end this pandemic and address the social and economic destruction it has caused.”

“The COVID-19 virus knows no borders, and in order to overcome this pandemic, we need a robust international response,” said Rep. Mark Takano. “By introducing this legislation, the U.S. can be a global leader and ensure that our international counterparts have access to the resources they need to crush the virus. This investment will be crucial to helping our country recover and get our economy back on track.”

This legislation focuses on four key actions:

  1. Instructs the U.S. representative to the IMF to support issuing 2 trillion “Special Drawing Rights.”
  2. Instructs U.S. representatives to the international financial institutions to support a suspension of debt payments to those institutions during the COVID-19 pandemic and oppose programs that undermine countries’ ability to respond to COVID-19, such as those that encourage cuts to public health spending;
  3. Instructs the Secretary of the Treasury to allocate newly issued U.S. Special Drawing Rights to the IMF’s Poverty Reduction and Growth Fund;
  4. Instructs the Secretary of the Treasury to work with the G-20 to extend the current moratorium on debt service payments to official bilateral creditors by the world’s poorest countries through the end of this year.