The world’s seven largest economies, including the United States, have agreed to support developing countries battling COVID-19. US envoy French Hill, a Republican from the 2nd district of Arkansas, opposes Russia, China and Iran being included among the countries that share about $ 650 billion.
As a senior Republican on the House Financial Services Committee, Hill questioned Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen on Tuesday about the plan, with the amount of funding below the threshold that will require congressional approval.
In an interview with KUAR News the next day, Hill said, “My concern is that fraudsters can use this hard currency axis to continue to sponsor terrorism across the country, buy weapons of mass destruction or restrict the rights of their people in their country. ”
In the interview, Hill was also asked about President Joe Biden’s call for Congress to adopt new gun control measures after two mass shootings within a week. You can listen to the interview above or read the transcript below.
On the support of the Biden administration for a plan to provide financial assistance to the parties to assist them in their response to the COVID-19 pandemic through the International Monetary Fund and the special allocation of drawing rights.
REP. FRENCH HILL: I believe we all share the desire to help countries that are in a severe financial disaster from the pandemic and there are many good, capable and existing ways to do it. For example, the World Bank targets the poorest countries with about $ 160 billion in loans and $ 16 billion directly to distribute vaccines in those severely affected countries. And in the same way, the IMF you mentioned, the International Monetary Fund, has granted critical loans to about 80 countries in need of currency and cash flows from the pandemic. The proposal made by the Biden administration, which we discussed yesterday with Secretary Yellen, is not aimed at poor countries. When you do what is called the distribution of special drawing rights in the International Monetary Fund, it must by law benefit each country that is a member of the International Monetary Fund, in proportion. So a rich country like the Netherlands gets billions more dollars in support than a poor country like Nigeria or Tanzania that needs help. And also, as you noted, fraudsters against whom we have sanctions for financial purposes like Iran or [President Bashar al-]Assad in Syria or Venezuela or large countries that do not need more money, such as China, still enjoy special drawing rights.
MICHAEL HIBLEN of KUAR: So, tell me about how Secretary Yelen responded yesterday.
HILL: I suggested to her, can she block any country from getting it like China, which doesn’t need it? She said no, China will get the money. And I asked her if there was a way to limit the rogue regime to, say, [President Nicolás] Maduro in Venezuela or Assad in Syria or the ayatollahs in Iran? Is there a way for developed countries to ban them from using these SDRs? She said it was worth talking about. She had no direct answer. But my concern is that fraudulent regimes may use this hard currency axis to continue to sponsor terrorism across the country, buy weapons of mass destruction or restrict the rights of their people in their country, or even use these assets. in hard currency to repay Chinese loans, which are opaque and predatory in nature. So, my personal opinion is that there are too many problems with this very large unintended IMF support on this issue.
HIBBLEN: And the amount under discussion falls below the threshold that Congress will require to give its approval.
HILL: That’s right, and that was done on purpose, I think, by the lawyers. They had initially talked about allocating special drawing rights worth $ 3 trillion to the IMF. They have reduced this to $ 650 billion, which puts it below, as you say, the level of oversight of the US Congress.
HIBBLEN: On another topic, the second mass shooting in a week led President Biden to call on Congress to pass gun control legislation, close the doors to the background check system, and ban offensive weapons. This met with immediate opposition from Republicans. What is your opinion?
HILL: My opinion is that in many of these cases we do not keep weapons out of the hands of people who are dangerous and unstable, and we have a background check system that works, but there are gaps in it and we have provided more money to the states. . We are providing more money to government agencies to reliably report the past verification system. I have also sponsored legislation to fill the gap and what is called a Charleston loophole or some of these others, and these are the guidelines we need to take. Keep weapons out of the hands of people who shouldn’t own them by enforcing our past verification system and making sure it’s funded in the right way and report it in the right way.
HIBLEN: So, don’t you think that the current action of the Congress leads to nowhere?
HILL: I’m not sure, I don’t know. I saw the report on the president’s statement. But you know, for example, limiting … he mentioned limiting high-capacity magazines, which my memory is 10 or more rounds. This is an attempt made in California, for example, it has been ruled unconstitutional by the US Supreme Court. So, this kind of effort, we always have to keep in mind what makes the Second Amendment easier, what federal laws, or what federal courts have supported before we, you know, propose changes. So, I’ll be glad to see what the Biden administration has to offer.
HIBLEN: Well, finally, Congressman Hill, on a lighter note, you’re sponsoring legislation to honor someone who played a leading role in the conservation of the Buffalo River and made it the first river in the country to be designated a national river. We’re talking about Neil Compton. What prompted this?
HILL: Yeah, well, I always … the Buffalo River was a special place in my life. I’ve been living long enough where I’ve been rowing on the Buffalo and walking in the region for 50 years, which is amazing when I look back, but I love the Buffalo River. Neil Compton was a man I had always admired. He is the founder of the Ozark Society. He only protected the river from the dam by the Engineering Corps and then created a political environment that allowed [former U.S. Rep.] John Paul Hammerschmidt and others to name the Buffalo River, the first national river. So, here we are on the golden anniversary of the 2022 anniversary of the Buffalo becoming America’s first national river, and I propose to honor Neil Compton’s leadership five decades ago by providing a site to commemorate his efforts. [by renaming the] Tyler Band Visitor Center in northern Arkansas [in honor of Compton].
HIBLEN: And next year is the 50th anniversary. What does it mean to be a national river?
HILL: I think it’s easier for Arkansas to be on the map for so many people who love outdoor recreation and love the archeology, geology and topography of the Buffalo River Valley. This is a unique place in American outdoor recreation. It has the highest waterfall in Hemed-In Hollow between the Rocky Mountains and the Appalachians and just a great central focus for outdoor recreation in this part of the country. I’m proud he’s in Arkansas and I’m proud Neil Compton was there to protect him.