Joining Clinton, Rubin and Greenspan at the White House, in addition to Gingrich, were Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole (R-Kan.), Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle (D-S.D.) and House Minority Leader Richard A. Gephardt (D-Mo.).
In a signal to show that the Fed supports the loan plan, Greenspan appeared in the White House press briefing room as the plan was announced, although he declined to speak on the record.
Officials said the statement's insistence on encouraging further reform in Mexico is aimed partly at heading off possible complaints in Congress that the loan guarantees would allow the Zedillo government to continue running the kind of budget deficits that helped cause the financial crisis.
Even before the aid plan was announced, several Democratic members of Congress who had opposed the North American Free Trade Agreement with Mexico pronounced themselves opposed to any loan guarantees. "American workers . . . are being asked to support tens of billions of dollars in loans to Mexico to prop up an economy that shows no signs of being able to support itself," complained California Rep. George Miller (D-Martinez).
Republicans such as former Secretary of State James A. Baker III largely supported the move.
The Mexican economy has been in crisis since Dec. 20, when Zedillo's new government, beset by inflation and debt, abruptly devalued the peso by 15%.
Staff writer Juanita Darling in Mexico City contributed to this report.
* MARKET BEAT
Currency devaluations are becoming a global problem. D3
Boost From a Bailout
Stock exchanges in Mexico and Latin America made gains Thursday after the United States proposed more help for the battered Mexican peso. Daily closes since Dec. 20 on stock exchanges in Mexico, Brazil and Argentina:
MEXICO (BOLSA) Thursday: 2,118.82
BRAZIL (SAO PAULO BOVESPA) Thursday: 38,406
ARGENTINA (MERVAL) Thursday: 434.59
Note: Brazil and Argentina exchanges were closed Dec. 30.
Source: Bloomberg Business News, TradeLine