Armey Concedes on IMF Funds

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Nothing shakes up a man's ideology like a little fiscal crisis: Dick Armey may be a true believer in the power of an unfettered market, but he appears to have relented in his opposition to additional U.S. contributions to the International Monetary Fund. "When you're facing an immediate crisis in countries whose collapse could bring down the world's financial system, you can't get too philosophical about how the IMF should be changed," says TIME correspondent Bruce Van Voorst. "The depth of the crisis in Asia and Russia and the desperate need for temporary assistance is enough to overcome any ideological objections to IMF bailouts."

Although Republicans have initially allocated only $3.5 billion of the $17.5 billion IMF contribution requested by the White House, Armey predicted Wednesday that the House would eventually release the remaining $14 billion. Indeed, with IMF reserves depleted, Van Voorst believes "what remains critical is that the House follow through and release the full amount." That may depend on House Republican leaders' reining those in their ranks who see such funding bills as an opportunity to insert extraneous antiabortion clauses.