WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Obama administration warned on Tuesday that rising powers were challenging U.S. leadership in global financial institutions, and urged Congress to approve a deal it says would help preserve U.S. influence.
"New players are challenging U.S. leadership in the multilateral system," Treasury Secretary Jack Lew told U.S. lawmakers.
Lew's comments came after Germany, France and Italy said they had agreed to join a new China-led Asian investment bank. Britain also defied U.S. pressure not to join the venture, which Washington sees as a rival to the World Bank.
The United States is struggling with political gridlock and long-term fiscal challenges at a time when China looks set to eventually eclipse America as the world's largest economy.
Lew urged the lawmakers to sign off on a reform of the International Monetary Fund that would give emerging markets a bigger say in global economic policy while also preserving U.S. veto power in the institution.
The United States and other countries agreed to a deal in 2010, but the U.S. Congress has yet to approve it.
Lew said that "is causing other countries, including some of our allies, to question our commitment to the IMF and other multilateral institutions."
"Our international credibility and influence are being threatened," he said.
Reporting by Jason Lange; Editing by Paul Simao