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Legislating International OrganizationThe US Congress, the IMF, and the World Bank$
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Kathryn C. Lavelle

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780199765348

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199765348.001.0001

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Iron Triangles Go Global

Iron Triangles Go Global

The 1982 Debt Crisis and End of the Cold War

(p.107) 5 Iron Triangles Go Global
Legislating International Organization

Kathryn C. Lavelle

Oxford University Press

This chapter investigates the debt stage in the relationship between Congress and the IMF and World Bank that was triggered by the external shocks of the 1982 Mexican default, subsequent Latin American debt crisis, and the end of the Cold War. The chief endogenous change was the increasing use of omnibus legislation in the period of divided government that followed the election of Ronald Reagan. The chapter argues that omnibus bills were effective vehicles for issues related to the IMF and World Bank. Through them, party leaders could secure funding for the IMF and World Bank, yet prevent individual members from having to take a public stand on an individual measure. However, by the end of the stage, the same external changes altered domestic constituencies of support. As the banking industry recovered from the debt crisis and other forms of credit appeared, the money-center banks directed a smaller percentage of transnational capital flows. Congressional advocacy efforts on behalf of environmental activists were directed at the World Bank’s activities. Use of legislative procedure allowed members of Congress to advocate for policy change on issues such as African development, the “Pelosi Amendment,” and the World Bank inspection panel.

Keywords:   omnibus legislation, Pelosi Amendment, environmental activists, World Bank inspection panel, Ronald Reagan, 1982 Mexican default, money-center banks, Cold War, Latin American debt crisis, divided government, African development

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