The Intercept talks with Eric LeCompte about the Puerto Rico Debt Crisis

Eric LeCompte, Executive Director of Jubilee USA recently talked with The Intercept speaking on the Puerto Rico debt crisis. Read excerpt below and follow link to full article.

Citigroup Drove Puerto Rico Into Debt. Now It Will Profit From Privatization on the Island.

By: Kate Aronoff

“Our concern with how debt restructurings often happen is that consultants too often turn to traditional prescriptions that haven’t necessarily worked. We believe fundamentally that austerity hurts economies when they’re trying to get back to economic growth.”

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Eric LeCompte Featured in America, the Jesuit Review

Eric LeCompte, Executive Director of Jubilee USA was recently featured in America, the Jesuit Review speaking on Puerto Rico. Read excerpt below and follow link to full article.

Puerto Rico to receive $11 billion in disaster aid. Advocates warn it won't be enough.

By: J.D. Long-García

Eric LeCompte, executive director of Jubilee USA Network has serious doubts. “Half a million people in Puerto Rico are still without power,” he said.

“There’s a lot of hopelessness across the island,” Mr. LeCompte said, adding that hundreds of thousands have left Puerto Rico since the hurricane. According to Mr. LeCompte, there has been a surge in suicide rates. While Mr. LeCompte applauded the approval of disaster relief, he added that “the work of Congress is not over yet.”

Even before the hurricane, half of the children in Puerto Rico lived in poverty, according to Mr. LeCompte.

“The suffering was already great on the island with hundreds of schools closed,” he said. “Austerity was impacting health care and social services. Because of the debt crisis, Puerto Rico was ill-prepared to deal with hurricanes.”

Mr. LeCompte noted that many Americans still do not realize Puerto Ricans are U.S. citizens. Still, he expects the financial oversight board of Puerto Rico to recommend a five-year suspension of debt payments in the coming weeks.

“There is also a ‘super bankruptcy’ process taking place that Congress passed as a part of legislation,” Mr. LeCompte said. “That bankruptcy process will need to cut about 80 to 90 percent of the debt if Puerto Rico wants to see future economic growth.”

The island’s government estimates Puerto Rico needs $90 billion in aid in the aftermath of the hurricanes, Mr. LeCompte said. The U.S. Virgin Islands have requested more than $7.5 billion.

“We will need more disaster aid bills from Congress in the coming months,” he said. The current budget proposal also falls short of requests from California, Texas and Florida, according to Mr. LeCompte.

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Puerto Rico/US Virgin Islands Victory. Thank Congress, Ask Congress

Friends,

Thanks to your efforts, as dawn broke in Washington, we won relief and recovery funds for Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands. 

For 6 months, you generated thousands of e-mails, phone calls and petitions to Congress and the White House. You met with your Members of Congress and organized 130 prayers services across the country for Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands. 

You asked Congress and the White House and they listened.

The new law includes $11 billion in recovery aid for Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands. There is over $2 billion to rebuild Puerto Rico's power grid. There are rules in place to ensure that Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands can rebuild to withstand future storms. In addition, you campaigned for two years continually for Medicaid funding to protect Puerto Rico's poor and help Puerto Rico respond to its debt crisis. Your efforts secured nearly $5 billion in funds. The program was within weeks of running out of money and now has funding for years.

We are grateful that Congress and the White House worked with us to move forward relief. We also need to ask Congress to do more. 

Please join us as we thank Congress for moving forward relief for Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands. Join us as we invite Congress to do even more. Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands will need more recovery aid to fully rebuild. The US citizens on the islands still need to be able to access the same levels of healthcare and child tax benefits that US citizens can access in the States. Continuing to win these policies is essential to ending the debt crisis that continue in the post-hurricane world on the islands.

In the summer of 2015, Puerto Rico's religious leaders alerted the world to a financial crisis devastating their islands and harming the poor. In the years that followed Puerto Rico's Archbishop Roberto Gonzalez and Bible Society Head Reverend Heriberto Martinez continued to call for debt relief and for Congress to enact a fix to Medicaid for the poor on their island.

We, along with our national religious founders and partners, joined them in their calls. Our work together is not finished.

Together working with two different White Houses and Republican and Democratic leadership, we've achieved a lot. Together, we will do even more. Please join us as we thank Congress for acting and inviting them to do more.

Puerto Rico was ill-prepared before the hurricanes hit because of the island's debt crisis and austerity policies. Before the hurricanes nearly one in two kids lived in poverty. In a post-hurricane world, hundreds of thousands do not have electricity and suicide rates continue to soar. In the coming weeks, our efforts together, will be essential to ending the debt crisis and building a path forward that reduces child poverty and promotes economic growth. 

Thanks for your efforts to make today's incredible success possible.

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Eric LeCompte
Executive Director

Twitter: @Eric_LeCompte
www.jubileeusa.org/support-us

FB Twitter Donate Blog Flickr
Jubilee USA Network
212 East Capitol St NE - Washington, DC 20003
(202) 783-3566 - coord@jubileeusa.org
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New Law Provides Disaster Relief and Medicaid Funds for Puerto Rico and US Virgin Islands

As the Sun rose over the Capitol, Congress voted for a bipartisan spending package to end a brief government shutdown. The Senate and House approved nearly $90 billion dollars in recovery aid for Puerto Rico, the US Virgin Islands, Florida, Texas and California. The final legislation also includes nearly $5 billion dollars to increase Medicaid funding for Puerto Rico. Shortly after Congress passed the measure, the bill was signed into law by President Trump.

"‎The human suffering in Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands continues, so I'm happy Republican and Democratic leadership could agree on disaster relief and healthcare funding for the poor," noted Jubilee USA Director, Eric LeCompte whose organization generated thousands of e-mails and phone calls to Congress ahead of the vote. "‎The work of Congress is not over yet. The aid package falls short of what the islands need and Congress will need to approve more disaster relief in the months ahead."

The spending bill includes more than $11 billion in recovery aid for Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands. More than $2 billion will be available to rebuild Puerto Rico's power grid. Moody's rating agency and the US Territory Governments estimate that more than $100 billion is needed to fully fund recovery and rebuilding efforts.

The law also includes money for Puerto Rico's Medicaid program that serves poor populations. Until Congress acted, Puerto Rico's Medicaid funding was weeks away from running out.

"We applaud Congress for moving forward the Medicaid funding for Puerto Rico," said LeCompte. "This program is critical for anti-poverty efforts and will generate billions of dollars for Puerto Rico's economy."

Religious leaders in Puerto Rico and across the United States have advocated for Medicaid financing with Congress and the White House for more than two years.
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Puerto Rico and US Virgin Islands Need Relief, Medicaid Funding

Friends,

We need your help. Senate leaders say they are close to a budget deal to avert another government shutdown. ‎While the House approved a budget package on Tuesday, the Senate is still deliberating on a number of issues including disaster relief and Medicaid funding for Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands.
Eric LeCompte our executive director has continued to meet with Republican and Democratic leadership in Congress. Puerto Rico's Archbishop Roberto O. González Nieves, OFM and Evangelical Leader, Reverend Heriberto Martínez continue to urge Congress to act for their people. The islands are facing a humanitarian crisis that is affecting millions of American citizens.

Please email your representatives today to ensure that "Better Building" provisions are part of the package along with equal access to Medicare, Medicaid and child tax benefits for all citizens no matter where they live. As the debate continues, your voice can help us tip the scales on behalf of all those who so desperately need help.

We must work together to ensure that the budget deal includes a package for our brothers and sisters still suffering from the natural disasters.

Gratefully,

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Lydia C. Andrews
Deputy Director

Twitter: @JubileeUSA
www.jubileeusa.org/support-us

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El Nuevo Dia Talks With Eric LeCompte About Puerto Rico

Eric LeCompte, Executive Director of Jubilee USA was recently featured in El Nuevo Dia speaking on disaster relief for Puerto Rico. Read excerpt below and follow link to full article.

Buscan Incluir una Resolución para Mitigar Desastres en el Presupuesto

By: José A. Delgado

“El Senado debe llevar a votación la asistencia para desastres y reconstrucción para Puerto Rico y las Islas Vírgenes estadounidenses… Es increíble que el Senado haya tardado tanto en actuar”, indicó el director ejecutivo de la coalición religiosa Jubilee USA, Eric LeCompte.

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Senate Puerto Rico, US Virgin Islands Disaster Vote

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Fund Relief for Puerto Rico and USVI

Friends,

In the President’s State of the Union address, he told disaster victims from Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands “we are with you, we love you and we will pull through this together.”

Unfortunately Disaster victims from California to Puerto Rico are still waiting for Congress to authorize relief and rebuilding funds. 

The Senate still has not voted on the recovery package for disaster victims. Their next deadline to act is February 9th to avert a government shutdown. Send a message to Congress: the people of Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands need relief. 

More than four months has passed since Hurricane Maria landed in Puerto Rico, devastating the island. Much of the island is still without power, hospitals lack supplies and personnel to adequately care for the sick. Murders and suicides are at record levels.

The effects of the storm are heartbreaking in the US Virgin Islands, where power is still not completely restored and many homes and buildings are still without roofs. These islands will not be able to withstand the next storm if they do not receive the help and aid that many in Washington promised. Hold Congress and the White House to their word by calling on them now to act and provide the relief the islands need. 

Your voice matters. Now is the time to act. Congress must pass another spending bill before February 9th to keep the government open. Send a message to Congress for hurricane victims in Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands.

We know that the pressure we’ve been putting on Congress is having an effect, but we need your help. Please act now and share this message with your friends and family.

Gratefully,

Kate's_Signature-transparent.png

Kate Zeller
Campaigns Director

Twitter: @JubileeUSA
www.jubileeusa.org/support-us

FB Twitter Donate Blog Flickr
Jubilee USA Network
212 East Capitol St NE - Washington, DC 20003
(202) 783-3566 - coord@jubileeusa.org

 

 

 

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Shutdown Ends, Puerto Rico Disaster Relief Waits

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 
January 22, 2018 

Jubilee USA Statement on Government Shutdown and Puerto Rico Disaster Relief Package 

The Senate voted in favor of a plan to keep the US Government funded through February 8th, ending the "shutdown." Democrats and Republicans failed to reach an agreement on a number issues including immigration and disaster relief but agreed to have open debate on those issues in the weeks ahead.

Eric LeCompte, Executive Director of the religious development organization, Jubilee USA, releases the following statement:

"Disaster victims from Texas to Puerto Rico are still waiting for Congress to pass ‎relief and recovery aid legislation. 

"In Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands, human lives are shut down. Many people have gone without electricity for over a hundred days.

"The House passed a relief package and now it's the Senate's turn to pass a relief package. 

"Congress and the White House must be sure that Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands have sufficient aid to rebuild to withstand the next storm."

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Available for interview: Eric LeCompte, Executive Director
Contact: Lydia C. Andrews, Deputy Director
lydia@jubileeusa.org / (o) (202) 783-3566 x109 (m) (847) 772-2305
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Government Shutdown Fails Puerto Rico, Economists Call for Debt Relief

‎FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 
January 19, 2018 

Government Shutdown Solutions Could Leave Out Disaster Aid for Puerto Rico 

Economists Say Island Needs Debt Relief and Rebuilding Funds 

Washington DC – As the Senate and White House struggle to avert a government shutdown, US disaster victims from Puerto Rico to Texas worry a deal on relief and recovery aid will continue to be delayed. Moody’s rating agency estimates that Puerto Rico alone needs an upwards of $90 billion in aid to rebuild.

“Congress has failed to deliver recovery and relief aid to millions of US citizens affected by natural disasters in the last year,” stated Eric LeCompte, executive director of the religious development group, Jubilee USA. “We are really concerned for Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands. The islands were already dealing with high child poverty rates, developing world conditions and financial crises well before the hurricanes struck.”

In the last days of 2017, the US House of Representatives voted for an $81 billion dollar aid package for Texas, Florida, California, Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands. The House Bill fell short of the requests made by the Governors of the affected areas. As of Friday morning, Senators were still trying to negotiate some relief aid funding for Puerto Rico.

“It’s absolutely essential that Congress moves forward a recovery package as soon as possible. Aid must be enough to fully fund Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands to rebuild to withstand the next storm,” said LeCompte who met with Republican and Democratic leadership on moving forward a recovery package. Since September, LeCompte’s organization generated thousands of petitions, phone calls and e-mails to Congress and the White House to provide relief for the US Territories through a series of action alerts. 

As Congress wrestles with a recovery package for the beleaguered islands, Puerto Rico’s oversight board and Governor are preparing to release a new post hurricane economic plan. Before the hurricanes hit, Puerto Rico was entangled in a congressionally crafted bankruptcy process to deal with $72 billion in debt. The new fiscal plan will state how debt will be dealt with in a post hurricane Puerto Rico.

“The new plan for Puerto Rico must address the devastation caused by the hurricane and the problems that caused the prior deterioration of the economy,” a group of notable economists reflected in an open statement they released on Friday. Signers included: Antonio Weiss, former Counselor to the US Treasury Secretary; Nobel Prize winning economist, Joseph Stiglitz; Simon Johnson, former International Monetary Fund chief economist; Mario Marazzi Santiago of the Puerto Rican Institute of Statistics; former top United Nations adviser, Jeffrey Sachs; Jason Furman, former Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers; and Gene Sperling, former director of the National Economic Council.

The economist release entitled, “A Fiscal Plan for Puerto Rico,” calls for debt relief and substantial aid for Puerto Rico. The statement comes as Congress, the White House and the Island’s Governor and oversight board make decisions around the fate of the 3.5 million US citizens who call Puerto Rico home.

“The new final fiscal plan cannot allow a penny to be paid for debt until Puerto Rico sees positive economic recovery and is fully funded to be able to rebuild to withstand the next storm,” LeCompte noted. “Beyond the significant debt relief needed, Puerto Rico needs to stop all debt payments for at least five years.”

For nearly two years before the hurricanes struck, religious groups in Puerto Rico and the United States were advocating various solutions to deal with the growing financial crisis and high poverty rates. Shortly before Christmas, religious groups gathered in a Congress building to call for relief and aid. Supporting and participating groups included the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, United Church of Christ, Catholic Charities USA, Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of New York, Franciscan Action Network, the National Association of Evangelicals, Muslim Public Affairs Council and Islamic Relief. 

During the prayer service, Puerto Rico's Archbishop Roberto González Nieves reflected, "Puerto Rico desperately needs a complete debt relief, funding for rebuilding, and equal access to Medicare, Medicaid and child tax benefit funding. [...] Today we pray with the persistence and tenacity of the widow of the gospel; we pray full of hope that the miracle of compassion, openness toward and solidarity with Puerto Rico may come true."

Read the economist statement, “A Fiscal Plan for Puerto Rico"

View Jubilee USA’s most recent action alert

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Available for Interview: Eric LeCompte, Executive Director
Contact: Lydia C. Andrews, Deputy Director
lydia@jubileeusa.org / (o) (202) 783-3566 x109 (m) (847) 772-2305





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