Senate Banking Committee Chairman Alfonse M. D'Amato blasted a decision by the Treasury Department to draw down an additional $3 billion from a fund set up to bolster the suffering Mexican economy.
The New York Republican said on Tuesday that the administration released the funds from the Exchange Stabilization Fund two months earlier than it had told Congress it would.
"Why the sudden rush? And why is the administration sending more money to Mexico while Congress is out of session?" Sen. D'Amato asked. "Why does Mexico suddenly need another $3 billion of American tax dollars?"
The lawmaker criticized the administration for allowing Mexico to use the money to redeem what he called "high-risk, high-yield" debt.
"It is outrageous that the administration continues to send American taxpayers' funds to Mexico to bail out rich global currency speculators," Sen. D'Amato said.
However, in a statement Monday, Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin said that President Clinton certified that "there is no projected cost to the United States from this currency swap with Mexico."
"Our decision to release this next tranche of support is based on Mexico's continued full compliance with the terms of our agreements," Mr. Rubin said.
Sen. D'Amato has been a staunch critic of the administration's decision to set up a $20 billion fund to help the Mexican economy recover from a severe currency devaluation that occurred in December.