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NOMINATION OF SARA MARGALIT AVIEL TO BE UNITED STATES ALTERNATE EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF THE INTERNATIONAL BANK FOR RECONSTRUCTION AND DEVELOPMENT
(Senate - May 24, 2012)

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[Pages S3652-S3653]
    NOMINATION OF SARA MARGALIT AVIEL TO BE UNITED STATES ALTERNATE 
  EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF THE INTERNATIONAL BANK FOR RECONSTRUCTION AND 
                              DEVELOPMENT

  Mr. REID. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the Senate 
proceed to consider the following nomination: Calendar No. 640, and 
that the Senate proceed to vote without intervening action or debate.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered. The clerk 
will report the nomination.
  The legislative clerk read the nomination of Sara Margalit Aviel, of 
California, to be United States Alternate Executive Director of the 
International Bank for Reconstruction and Development.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, the Senate will proceed to 
consideration of the nomination.
  Mr. BARRASSO. Mr. President, I rise to speak on the nomination of 
Sara Aviel to be the Alternate Executive Director to the International 
Bank for Reconstruction and Development. Had the Senate conducted a 
recorded vote, I would have voted against Ms. Aviel's nomination.
  In 2011, the World Bank released a new 10-year energy sector lending 
strategy which includes a proposal to limit lending for new coal 
generation projects. I strongly disagree with the World Bank blocking 
any access to coal-powered energy. Their strategy will drive up energy 
prices around the world, and will make affordable and reliable energy 
for poor countries difficult to secure.
  The World Bank should be focused on poverty reduction and economic 
growth. Using advanced technologies, coal provides a clean, low cost 
and reliable energy source which is critical to countries looking for 
assistance in poverty alleviation and economic development. I believe 
representatives of the United States at the World Bank should support 
low cost and dependable energy sources as a means to help countries 
spur economic growth.
  Sara Aviel supports the World Bank providing financing for coal power 
generation but only to the poorest countries when no other options are 
available. She reiterated this point when I asked her whether she would 
support the World Bank's financing of a new coal-fired power plant 
project in Kosovo. She stated:

       There are a number of compelling reasons in favor of this 
     project. First, Kosovo, one of the poorest countries in 
     Europe, is greatly in need of reliable base load power and 
     there appears to be no other viable alternatives.

  Since the majority of lending by the World Bank is for middle-income 
countries, and not to the poorest of countries, the World Bank strategy 
supported by Sara Aviel will place significant limits, if not 
eliminate, lending for coal power generation. I believe she will use 
the World Bank 10-year energy strategy as a means to restrict World 
Bank lending for coal power generation projects, even when the proposal 
represents the most cost effective alternative. Requiring borrowers to 
accept higher cost projects when affordable and reliable alternatives 
are readily available is no way to operate a bank, especially when the 
bank is being funded with taxpayer dollars.
  The World Bank has also started a shift from providing financing to 
help the poorest of countries with economic growth and reducing 
poverty, to a focus in other areas with a strong emphasis on lending to 
middle-income countries. Middle-income countries that receive the vast 
majority of World Bank financing include nations such as China and 
Brazil.
  While Sara Aviel agrees that middle-income countries are able to 
borrow on international capital markets at commercial rates, she 
believes the World Bank should continue its lending to these countries. 
I disagree with her support of this policy.
  The World Bank should be aggressively working towards the graduation 
of middle-income countries from borrowers to donors. The resources of 
the World Bank should be directed at helping the poorest of countries 
eradicate poverty and implement successful economic development 
projects. Their primary focus should be on assisting countries that 
cannot access international capital markets at commercial rates, not 
financing middle-income

[[Page S3653]]

countries that can tap other financing resources.
  The World Bank is at a critical juncture. The Bank needs to pursue 
serious reforms, especially in the areas of corruption and 
transparency. It must not be used to push social agendas and political 
priorities to the detriment of poor nations, or to use donor funds in a 
manner that is not cost-effective. The United States representative 
must be a strong advocate for reform and accountability. I do not 
believe that Sara Aviel is the person to get that job done.
  It is for these reasons that I oppose the nomination of Sara Aviel.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The question is, Will the Senate advise and 
consent to the nomination of Sara Margalit Aviel to be United States 
Alternate Executive Director of the International Bank for 
Reconstruction and Development?
  The nomination was confirmed.

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