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IMF's Lagarde: Any U.S. Budget Deal Is Better Than None

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Christine Lagarde, who heads the International Monetary Fund, offered some positive comments about Congress on Wednesday.

Her assessment was a shade better than "faint praise," but something less than "Attaboy!"

Speaking at the National Press Club, Lagarde said she was pleased to see U.S. lawmakers have been moving forward "in a more orderly fashion" as they work on spending legislation.

Back in October — during the peak of the federal government shutdown — the IMF was holding its annual meeting in Washington, D.C. The world's top central bankers, finance ministers and economists were all there to witness congressional gridlock first-hand.

Lagarde was sharply critical at that time, warning that if Congress did not pass a budget, "it will have financial consequences that will apply not just to this country but across the globe."

Now with lawmakers pushing for final passage of a $1.1 trillion spending package, it appears the United States finally will have fiscal stability, at least for a while.

"We are all very pleased to see an orderly budget process is back," Lagarde said. "Any deal is better than no deal."

But she noted that congressional negotiators failed to include funding to help support the IMF.

Lagarde said she is hopeful that eventually, the White House will succeed in getting Congress to help fund the organization that lends money to calm financial crises around the world.

"IMF's main mission is to help ensure financial stability in the world, which benefits all world economies, the U.S. being the largest and first among them," Lagarde said. "I hope that sensible and common-sense judgment will prevail."

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Source: NPR

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