In a striking rebuke of President Clinton and congressional leaders of both parties, the House voted Wednesday to block billions of dollars in further U.S. loans to bail out the ailing Mexican economy.
By a vote of 245-183, lawmakers approved a provision by Rep. Bernard Sanders of Vermont, Congress’ lone independent, that would halt U.S. support for the peso effective Oct. 1. The provision was added to a spending bill for the Treasury, Postal Service and other agencies for the coming fiscal year that was approved by 216-211.
Of the $20 billion Clinton put into the exchange stabilization fund in January with support from Congress’ bipartisan leaders, $12.5 billion has been dispensed so far. The House measure would not affect the money already distributed.
In a written statement, Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin said the Clinton administration strongly opposes the Sanders measure and defended the stabilization fund as “a vital tool of international economic and monetary policy for every president since” Franklin Roosevelt.