By Jay Heflin - 05/21/10 02:09 PM EDT
The United States is already on tap to pay roughly $7 billion of the $39 billion the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has pledged to help bail out Greece. The country will receive a total of $145 billion in loan guarantees from the IMF and the 15 countries that compose the European Union (EU).
Since Greece, other EU countries have come forward needing loan guarantees. The IMF and the EU are now looking at a $1 trillion bailout to handle these claims, an effort in which the United States would be a participant.
House Republican Conference Chairman Mike Pence (Ind.) predicts bailout efforts taking place in Europe could eventually cost U.S. taxpayers an additional $50 billion.
"These funds are available now to the IMF as a line of credit to the IMF to support loan guarantees by American taxpayers," Pence said. "The American people are tired of borrowing and spending and they are especially tired of bailouts here in Washington, D.C. Enough is enough."
Congress last year extended a $100 billion line of credit to the IMF, according to Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.). Those funds can be used to bail out EU countries even if the House votes to oppose the move.
"They have a line of credit right now," DeMint said. "We don't even have to approve anything for other countries of the world to draw from our treasury to bail out other countries around the world."
House Republicans have also devised the European Bailout Protection Act, a bill that prohibits any funds that have been drawn by the IMF from financing a European Union bailout until all EU nations are in compliance with their debt-to-GDP-ration requirement. It also requires the Treasury secretary to oppose any IMF loans until all EU countries abide by that ratio.
DeMint introduced a companion bill in the Senate.
Under the bills, the United States would be prohibited from participating in the bailouts recently proposed by the EU.