Senate Democrats

Senate Leadership Expresses “Grave Concern” re. Crisis at The World Bank

Today Senators Harry Reid, Dick Durbn, Patty Murray, and Chuck Schumer sent a letter to President George W. Bush expressing “grave concern about the situation with respect to the leadership of the World Bank”.

Here is the text of the letter:

May 9, 2007

The President of the United States
The White House
Washington, D.C. 20500

Dear Mr. President:

We are writing with grave concern about the situation with respect to the leadership of the World Bank. We urge you to find a timely resolution that ensures the Bank’s current leadership crisis will not interfere with the Bank’s effectiveness as a poverty-fighting institution and that preserves the important and historical role of the United States in selecting the President of the Bank. Sacrificing either of these interests would be a significant mistake with ramifications for U.S. influence in the world for years to come.

The current situation is complex and unfortunately may be fueled in part by views toward Mr. Wolfowitz unrelated to his tenure at the Bank. At the same time, it is likely that, at least by adding to confusion about the facts, Mr. Wolfowitz played a role in aggravating the crisis.

It is evident, however, that the troubles relating to Mr. Wolfowitz have thrust the Bank into an historic crisis, which is jeopardizing the Bank’s ability to garner support from member countries and, by extension, the Bank’s ability to perform its fundamental purpose of alleviating poverty. Indeed, in announcing his own resignation, Mr. Wolfowitz’s close aide stated that the current problems had made it “very difficult to be effective in helping to advance the mission of the institution.” Further, the situation and the way it has been handled to date have seriously jeopardized the United States’ historical leadership role in the Bank.

Mr. President, we are very concerned that the window of opportunity is closing fast for the United States to show leadership to resolve this crisis without undermining the Bank or the U.S. leadership role in it. The Bank’s Board may feel compelled to vote on the future of Mr. Wolfowitz’s tenure as President, an unprecedented step. We do not believe the Bank’s mission or U.S. interests would be advanced by such a vote. We urge you to take decisive action quickly to bring this crisis to a close.


Harry Reid

Dick Durbin
Patty Murray
Chuck Schumer