Durbin, Garcia Applaud Administration Decision to Help Developing Nations Address Economic Fallout From COVID-19 Pandemic

Lawmakers: A creative way to help bring vaccines to the world

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senate Democratic Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL) and U.S. Representative Jesús “Chuy” García (D-IL-04) today applauded Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen’s announcement that the Administration will support the lawmakers’ proposal to release Special Drawing Rights (SDR) as one mechanism to help with the global economic fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Durbin and García, along with U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT), are lead sponsors of legislation that directs the Treasury Department to use its vote at the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to free up considerably more SDRs for member nations.  Special Drawing Rights are supplementary foreign exchange reserve assets defined and maintained by the IMF.  SDRs can then be used to purchase essential goods such as food, vaccines, energy supplies, medical equipment, and lifesaving drugs.  An increased SDR allocation is a low cost, strategic way for the international community to extend a financial umbrella to poorer nations. 

“The pandemic is global.  The solution must be global to stop the spread and mutation of COVID-19,” Durbin said.  “With today’s announcement, the Biden Administration has endorsed our plan to use SDRs as a creative way to bring vaccines to the world.  By doing this, we address an immediate need to slow down and stop this pandemic and reclaim our global leadership role at the same time.  I will continue working with Senator Sanders and Representative García to pass our legislation to provide an increased SDR allocation commensurate with the financing needs of the developing world.”

“Strong U.S. leadership is crucial for a global recovery, and the Biden administration’s support for our plan to issue Special Drawing Rights is welcome,” said García.  “The COVID-19 pandemic is global and our solution should be as well. I urge the Treasury to support the largest issuance possible without any delay and I commit to working with Senators Durbin and Sanders and my colleagues in the House to pass legislation in Congress to authorize the Treasury to support an increased amount of SDR’s that meet the need of the global crisis.”

Last month, Durbin, Sanders, and García led a group of their colleagues in a letter to Treasury Secretary Yellen regarding the urgent importance of helping stem the devastating economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the world’s developing countries and America’s trading partners.