With the legislation still in committee and facing floor votes in both houses, there is still plenty of time for compromise. Says Dickerson, "This is simply the first round of the dance, and it's a good opportunity for Newt Gingrich to show GOP conservatives that he's prepared to fight for their issues." This is, after all, an election year.
House Republican leaders have opted for brinkmanship over IMF and U.N. funding, announcing on Wednesday they would tie an extraneous abortion clause, previously nixed by the White House, to the legislation. "The GOP thinks the President wants the IMF funding badly enough that he might buckle this time," says TIME correspondent John Dickerson. But if the White House hangs tough and the $18 billion credit to the IMF is killed, the consequences could be disastrous: "Failing to fund the IMF could further destabilize Asia," says TIME correspondent Bruce Van Voorst. "And that would have extremely serious consequences for the American worker and consumer."