After years of delay, the United States approved reforms boosting the power of major emerging countries like China, Russia and India at the International Monetary Fund.
After balking for years at the reforms, which would maintain the U.S. status as the IMF's largest shareholder, the Republican-led Congress approved the far-reaching changes as part of a massive spending bill this week and President Barack Obama signed them into law on December 18.
The reforms, which have already been approved by most other IMF members, will raise the status of Brazil, China, India, and Russia, putting them among the IMF's top 10 shareholders and giving them more influence at the global lender.
Opposition from Republicans in the U.S. Congress was the only thing blocking the reforms from taking effect in recent years.
They represent the biggest change in the Fund's governance since it was established after World War II, and are a recognition of the increasing role that emerging markets play in the global economy.
The reform package will also double the amount of resources the IMF has available to lend during a global crisis.