Janet Yellen and Joe Biden at the 2021 G20 Rome Summit, via Office of U.S. Treasury Secretary / Wikicommons

Freedom Forward is one of 50 organizations urging President Biden to support the International Monetary Fund providing crisis relief for developing nations that is cost-free, debt-free, and condition-free. We are urging the IMF to do so by releasing a new issuance of at least $650 billion in Special Drawing Rights.

Letter to President Biden and Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen (Letter PDF):

April 6, 2023

The Honorable Joseph R. Biden, Jr.
President of the United States
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.
Washington, DC 20500

The Honorable Janet Yellen
Secretary, Department of the Treasury
1500 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.
Washington, DC 20220

Dear President Biden and Secretary Yellen,

We are writing to request that the United States’ representative at the International Monetary
Fund (IMF) use her voice and vote to support a new allocation of Special Drawing Rights (SDR)
to counteract clear recessionary pressures in the global economy.

Many economists believe that the Federal Reserve’s and other central banks’ continuing interest
rate hikes could push the U.S. economy and the world into a downturn. International financial institutions have warned that 2023 will be a “tougher” year, with many developing countries suffering a “sharp, long-lasting slowdown” that could “cause poverty rates to rise.”

Recessions are both costly and deadly. With the Congressional Budget Office projecting stagnant
growth, a global recession this year would depress demand for American exports, which would
lead to the potential loss of millions of American manufacturing jobs. Recession would also
result in a “sizeable and highly significant increase in mortality” in emerging economies,
especially children’s mortality, according to research from the Bank for International
Settlements. According to this econometric research, the number of lives lost in developing
countries from a world recession could be in the millions.

One of the few tools to mitigate the risks of recession at home and abroad that is available to
your administration without Congressional action is to support a new issuance of SDRs at the
IMF. Previously, the August 2021 issuance proved to be a lifeline for developing countries
enduring the Covid-induced global economic downturn, enabling over 100 countries to repay
debts, avert balance of payments crises, and purchase lifesaving imports like food and vaccines.

A new issuance of $650 billion in SDRs does not require additional Congressional action; costs
U.S. taxpayers nothing; reduces the frequency and impact of crises, as well as economic
downturns, around the world; addresses significant causes of social and political unrest; and
boosts U.S. exports. The latter creates jobs for American workers.

Already, nearly 150 civil society organizations support a new issuance of SDRs, including the AFL-CIO, International Chamber of Commerce, Oxfam, International Crisis Group, Partners In
Health, as well as dozens of members of Congress; the UN Global Crisis Response Group on
Food, Energy, and Finance; the UN Economic Commission for Africa; UN Secretary-General
António Guterres; the African Union; leading economists; and many more.

A new issuance of SDRs would be good for the world and good for America. It would save lives
and livelihoods around the world and in the United States.

We urge you to commit the Department of Treasury to supporting this zero-cost measure at the
next Executive Board meeting of the IMF to make an enormous difference for our own citizens
and people around the world.


Action Corps
ActionAid USA
Advocacy Network for Africa
Africa Faith and Justice Network (AFJN)
American Friends Service Committee
Baltimore Nonviolence Center
Brooklyn For Peace
Center for American Progress
Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR)
Center for Economic and Social Rights
Communication Workers of America
Congregation of Our Lady of Charity of the Good Shepherd, U.S. Provinces
Demand Progress Education Fund
Franciscan Action Network
Freedom Forward
Friends Committee on National Legislation
Friends in Solidarity
Friends of the Earth US
Gender Action
Health Advocacy International
Hindus for Human Rights
Institute of the Blessed Virgin Mary – Loreto Generalate
International Crisis Group
Islamic Relief USA
Just Foreign Policy
Justice Is GlobalLatin America Working Group (LAWG)
Leadership Team of the Sisters of the Precious Blood, Dayton, Ohio
Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns
Mennonite Central Committee U.S.
National Advocacy Center of the Sisters of the Good Shepherd
Network Lobby for Catholic Social Justice
NGO Committee on Disarmament, Peace, and Security
Northwest Coalition for Responsible Investment
Oxfam America
Partners In Health
Pax Christi USA
Public Citizen
Sisters of Mercy of the Americas – Justice Team
Sisters of St. Francis, Clinton, Iowa
Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet, LA
The Society for Children Orphaned By AIDS Inc. (SOCOBA)
United Church of Christ, Justice and Local Ministries
United Steelworkers (USW)
Win Without War