PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — More than a dozen progressive groups are urging U.S. Sen. Jack Reed to use his new chairmanship to bolster international financial assistance to developing countries.
Organizations including Black Lives Matter RI PAC, the Board of Rabbis of Greater Rhode Island and the Sisters of Mercy sent a letter to Reed asking him to secure passage of legislation expanding the amount of resources the International Monetary Fund can direct to needy nations, through his position as chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee.
The letter focuses on Special Drawing Rights (SDRs), a type of asset which the IMF can provide to countries that they can then swap for hard currencies and use to buy supplies. It asks Reed to support legislation that would provide American support for issuing the equivalent of $2 trillion worth of SDRs.
“It is critical to our own recovery that we end the pandemic everywhere on earth. In order to do so, we must equip all nations with the tools to end this pandemic,” the letter says. “We hope that you will use your position as chair to advance Rhode Island’s progressive values, especially in this time of critical global need.”
Chip Unruh, a spokesperson for Reed, noted that the senator is already a co-sponsor of a bill put forward by Illinois U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin that would meet the letter-writers’ goals for SDR issuance.
“If the U.S. doesn’t lead a coordinated international response through the IMF and other aid efforts, we’re going to see more destruction and more instability and neither of those is the kind of news we need right now,” Reed, a five-term Democrat, said last year.
However, Republicans have expressed opposition to increasing the use of SDRs, voicing fears that the move will wind up benefiting China financially. GOP Congressman French Hill of Arkansas wrote in The Wall Street Journal in February that the policy would be “an IMF giveaway to wealthy countries and rogue regimes.”
David Segal, a former Rhode Island state representative who leads the pressure group Demand Progress, praised Reed for co-sponsoring the Durbin bill and urged him to advance the SDRs issue through the Armed Services Committee.
“Moreover, I know countless Rhode Islanders were glad to see Reed come out in support of Biden’s plan to withdraw from Afghanistan, and that our group and others look forward to engaging with him on ending the endless wars and on other important matters moving forward,” Segal said in a statement.
The organizations that signed the letter to Reed include Action Corps RI, the American Friends Service Committee, Amnesty International, Black Lives Matter RI PAC, the Board of Rabbis of Greater Rhode Island, Demand Progress, East Bay Citizens for Peace, the Formerly Incarcerated Union of RI and the National Lawyers Guild of Rhode Island.
Other signatories were Never Again Action RI, No Endless War or Excessive Militarism, Pax Christi, Providence Friends Committee on National Legislation Advocacy Team, ReclaimRI, the Rhode Island Anti-War Committee, the Sisters of Mercy, and Sunrise PVD.
Ted Nesi (email@example.com) is a Target 12 investigative reporter and 12 News politics/business editor. He co-hosts Newsmakers and writes Nesi’s Notes on Saturdays. Connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram