Congress Votes on Puerto Rico: Call Now Please

Friend,

Congress will vote today or tomorrow on a recovery package for Puerto Rico, the US Virgin Islands, Florida, Texas and California. Please call your Senators and Representative now and tell them Puerto Rico needs recovery funding to rebuild to withstand the next storm. Tell them Puerto Rico needs debt relief. Tell them that US Citizens living in Puerto Rico should be able to receive the same level of access to Medicaid, Medicare and child tax benefits that citizens can access who live in the States.

Already, because of your phone calls and e-mails, we stripped the tax package of an "excise" tax on Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands. This happened because of the calls and e-mails we generated to Congress. While there still are some parts of the tax package that hurt Puerto Rico, we've made progress and we are getting commitments to fix this in the new year. Your continued action is so important.‎ Our actions as of now have secured provisions in the upcoming aid package to ensure that infrastructure will be built stronger than before.

Congress will vote on recovery funds for Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands as part of their vote to keep the government open.

Please call your Members of Congress now.

Yesterday, Puerto Rico's Archbishop Roberto Gonzalez joined Jubilee USA's Director Eric LeCompte to meet with the teams of Speaker Ryan and Leader McConnell. Afterwards, Jubilee USA and our partners hosted a prayer service in a Congress office building for Puerto Rico. 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.

Archbishop Gonzalez presided over the service and he reflected:

"Puerto Rico desperately needs a complete debt relief, funding for rebuilding, and equal access to Medicare, Medicaid and child tax benefit funding.  Puerto Rico, in spite of its colonial history with Spain and the United States for more than 500 years, with all the inequalities and humiliations that entails, has exemplified a Christian spirit of reconciliation towards Spain and the United States in its quest to live in dignity, freedom, equality and peace in the world community.

"Today, all of us, clergy, religious,  people representing many faiths and denominations, government officials, lay people and people of good will, gathered in this prayer service organized by Jubilee USA to pray for the people of Puerto Rico and for an awakening of the hearts of the Representatives and Senators in Congress and to give thanks to God for the precious God-given gifts of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. 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."

Your calls are urgently needed. Call Congress and say that Puerto Rico needs recovery funding to rebuild to withstand the next storm. Tell them Puerto Rico needs debt relief. Tell them that US Citizens living in Puerto Rico should be able to receive the same level of access to Medicaid, Medicare and child tax benefits that citizens can access who live in the States.

Thanks for taking action,

Lydia_Andrews_signature.png

Lydia C. Andrews
Deputy Director
Twitter: @JubileeUSA | www.jubileeusa.org/support-us
212 East Capitol St NE - Washington, DC 20003
(202) 783-3566 - coord@jubileeusa.org
 
 
 

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Archbishop, Faiths Pray for Puerto Rico at Congress

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 19, 2017

Archbishop and Religious Groups Hold Puerto Rico Prayer Vigil at US Capitol

Washington DC - As Congress considers recovery and relief packages for hurricane-hit Puerto Rico, the island's Archbishop and national religious on Wednesday will hold a prayer vigil in a Congressional office building.

"Puerto Rico needs a Congress that is sensitive to the pain of the people of Puerto Rico," noted Roberto González, Archbishop of the Catholic Archdiocese of San Juan de Puerto Rico. Gonzalez will be the primary presider at the service. "It needs a Congress that respects Puerto Rico's right to reconstruct with dignity."

San Juan's Archbishop will be joined at the prayer vigil by a number of major religious groups including: the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, the United Church of Christ, the National Association of Evangelicals, the Muslim Public Affairs Council, Catholic Charities USA, the Franciscan Action Network, Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of New York and Jubilee USA Network.

The various groups will be praying and calling for adequate rebuilding aid, debt relief and financing for healthcare and child benefits on par with what US States receive.

"Puerto Rico desperately needs adequate rebuilding aid so its power grid and infrastucture is strong enough to withstand the next storm," noted Eric LeCompte of the religious development group that is organizing the event, Jubilee USA Network. "Puerto Rico needs debt relief and equal access to Medicare, Medicaid and child tax benefit funding."

The event will be held at noon on December 20th from noon-1 pm in room 121 of Congress' Cannon House Office Building

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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National Catholic Reporter Cites Eric LeCompte on Repeal of Section 1504

Eric LeCompte, Executive Director of Jubilee USA was recently cited in National Catholic Reporter speaking on the repeal of Section 1504 of the Dodd-Frank law. Read excerpt below and follow link to full article.

Republican attacks on the FBI are despicable

By: Michael Sean Winters

“Some bad things garner less press coverage but set back efforts to fight poverty around the world. Also on Dec. 13, the House Financial Services Committee voted to repeal Section 1504 of the Dodd-Frank law, the section that required U.S. oil and mining corporations to report how much they give to foreign governments. I wrote about this issue earlier this year. ‘It's a sad day when basic anti-poverty and transparency initiatives are repealed,’ said Jubilee USA executive director Eric LeCompte after the vote.”


Read more here.

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1504 Repeal Statement

Anti-Poverty and Transparency Law Repealed by House Committee
Washington DC - On Wednesday the US House of Representatives Financial Services Committee voted 33-27 to repeal section 1504 of the "Dodd-Frank" Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010. Section 1504 requires oil and mining companies to disclose what payments companies make to governments where they operate to the Securities and Exchange Commission.

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

"I supported Section 1504 because it was a common sense, bipartisan model to combat revenue thefts from the poor and a new beginning to address tax evasion and corruption.

"Section 1504 requires annual reporting by oil, gas and mining companies of financial activity and payments to governments where these companies operate. Requiring disclosure of these payments helps fight corruption by extending the transparency we have in our own federal budget to other countries that need to be more forthcoming about public finances.

"Because Congress acted on this transparency initiative, the world followed. Europe and Canada passed and expanded Congress’ action and the idea of increasing this type of financial reporting has now become a critical part of global development agreements. ‎

"It's a sad day when basic anti-poverty and transparency initiatives are ‎repealed."

Read Eric LeCompte's February oped in the Hill opposing the repeal of Section 1504. 

 

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

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Archbishop and Evangelical Leader Tell Congress to Protect Puerto Rico in Tax Plans

As the Senate and House tax plans head to conference committee to reconcile tax plan differences, major religious leaders from Puerto Rico are asking Congress to protect the island from new proposed ‎taxes. Metropolitan Archbishop Roberto O. González Nieves, OFM of the Catholic Archdiocese San Juan de Puerto Rico and Puerto Rico Bible Society Secretary, Reverend Heriberto Martínez-Rivera wrote to Congress with their concerns.

"If Congress treats American citizens living in Puerto Rico differently than American citizens living in the 50 States by treating our island as a foreign jurisdiction, we believe recovery for our island home will be nearly impossible," wrote González and Martínez-Rivera in their letter to Congress.  "We respectfully request that all Members of Congress ensure that a final tax reform plan does not impose new excise taxes on Puerto Rico."

Working with Jubilee USA and US religious groups, the Archbishop and Evangelical leader have engaged Congress for nearly two years to move policies that promote economic growth and reduce the island's crippling debt load and high child poverty rate. In the recent letter they wrote to Congress, they ‎noted that tens of thousands of American jobs could be lost in Puerto Rico if the Senate and House conference committee did not strip the excise tax from final legislation.

"If Congress fails to remove this excise tax in their final tax package, it is just like hitting Puerto Rico with another hurricane," said Jubilee USA Director Eric LeCompte who advises Puerto Rico's religious leaders and serves on United Nation expert groups. "Before the hurricanes, we were dealing with a severe financial crisis and almost half of all Puerto Rican kids were living in poverty. We are now dealing with a full blown humanitarian crisis that Congress can make better or even worse."‎

Read Archbishop González and Reverend Martínez-Rivera's letter to Congress. 

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Jubilee USA Releases Tax Reform Statement

The Senate could vote later on Friday on a tax reform package. If a package passes the Senate, the House and Senate will likely use the conference committee process to reconcile differences between the final House and Senate tax packages.

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

“Any final tax reform package should support and protect vulnerable communities. I’m concerned that portions of the current tax plans will harm poor populations.

"A final tax package should not shifts greater tax burdens to the poor or constrict our budget from providing adequate foreign development assistance or disaster relief.

"We could see more developing countries borrowing more money and becoming more indebted as a result of less foreign assistance because of current tax plans.

“Current tax reform legislation moves the US to a so-called territorial tax system that encourages the use of tax havens and permits corporations to avoid paying US taxes and taxes in developing countries. Such a plan has a human cost and negatively impacts poor people at home and abroad.‎

“Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands are still struggling to recover from the aftermath of this hurricane season and they should not be subject to additional excise taxes that US states are not subject to. While Congress considers tax policies to promote jobs for Americans in the 50 States, those policies must also ensure that US citizens living in Puerto Rico and the Territories are treated the same. Puerto Rico and the US Territories will lose tens of thousands of jobs if Congress passes a final tax package with new excise taxes for the Territories.”

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Congress Tax Reform Package Could Harm Poor, Warns Religious Development Group

 As the Senate pushes tax reform, the head of a religious development group expressed concern over parts of the House and Senate proposals that could harm low income people in the United States and people in the developing world.

“Any final tax reform package should support and protect vulnerable communities. I’m concerned that portions of the current tax plans will harm poor populations,” said Eric LeCompte, Executive Director of Jubilee USA. “A final tax package should not shift greater tax burdens to the poor or constrict our budget from providing adequate foreign development assistance or disaster relief.”

The House and Senate will likely use the conference committee process to reconcile differences between the final House and Senate tax reform packages.

“Current tax reform legislation moves the US to a so-called territorial tax system that encourages the use of tax havens and permits corporations to avoid US taxes and taxes in developing countries,” noted LeCompte. “Such a plan has a human cost and negatively impacts poor people at home and abroad.”

Jubilee USA has worked with Congress for nearly two years on US financial policies regarding Puerto Rico. Portions of a final tax package could impact Puerto Rico and other US Territories according to LeCompte.

“As Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands are still struggling to recover from the aftermath of this hurricane season, they should not be subject to additional excise taxes that US states are not subject to,” stated LeCompte. “While Congress considers tax policies to promote jobs for Americans in the 50 States, those policies must also ensure that US citizens living in Puerto Rico and the Territories are treated the same. Puerto Rico and the US Territories will lose tens of thousands of jobs if Congress passes a final tax package with new excise taxes for the Territories.”

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Bond Buyer Interviews Eric LeCompte on Humanitarian Efforts in Puerto Rico

Eric LeCompte, Executive Director of Jubilee USA was recently interviewed by Bond Buyer to discuss relief efforts in Puerto Rico. Read excerpt below and follow link to full article.

Humanitarian Advocates Optimistic on Aid to Puerto Rico

By: Brian Tumulty

Laura Esquivel, director of national Advocacy for the Hispanic Federation, and Eric LeCompte, executive director of Jubilee USA Network, told The Bond Buyer they are hopeful Congress will rework the administration’s request and provide more funding[...]

LeCompte stressed the urgency of stepping up the recovery effort.

“I think Congress will step up and we will see in the coming weeks and months more packages around both relief and recovery and rebuilding aid as well as some financing issues addressed,” LeCompte said.

LeCompte said his organization supports having the oversight board established under PROMESA review contracts that are signed for spending federal funds in the recovery effort.

“There appears to be a need for some transparent and accountable way that contracts are reviewed," he said. “We just want it to be expedient and fast.” 

Read more here.

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Eric LeCompte Quoted by IRIN News on Debt Relief in the Caribbean

Eric LeCompte, Executive Director of Jubilee USA Network, was recently cited in IRIN News on debt relief in the Caribbean. Read excerpt below and follow link to full article. 

Recovery pledges for hurricane-ravaged Caribbean are a drop in the ocean

By: Samuel Oakford

Eric LeCompte, director of Jubilee USA, said his umbrella group of religious organisations was exploring ways of delaying payments and obligations over the coming months.

“That’s an issue where we’ve seen some progress, but we don’t have firm commitments from the IMF or Paris club over any kind of debt moratorium.”

Read more here

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Gifts are Doubled to Jubilee USA

Friends,

Thanks to your support, Jubilee USA is winning and growing.

Please join me and make a tax-deductible donation to Jubilee USA that will be matched up to $20,000 right now. Whether your gift is $5, $10, $25, $250 or $500 - it is so needed and so appreciated so we can continue to raise a budget to support our vital mission.

Already in 2017, we stopped "vulture funds," won a super bankruptcy process for Puerto Rico and moved Republican and Democratic corporate transparency legislation to protect vulnerable communities. With your support we moved the Trump White House to help stop global financial crisis. We pushed Congress and successfully defended protections for consumers and the poor.

We urgently need your financial support now as we move the IMF, Congress and the White House to support hurricane victims in Puerto Rico, Dominica, the US Virgin Islands and Barbuda. You're contributions are needed now to continue our emergency policy efforts to win recovery and relief aid for the millions affected by this hurricane season. And when you make a gift now to Jubilee USA, your gift will be DOUBLED.

New protections we win for Dominica, the US Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico will help protect vulnerable communities in every corner of the world. New policies we win for public budget transparency, debt relief and austerity prevention can be replicated in other parts of the world to alleviate suffering and lift millions out of poverty.

While we are grateful to work with many incredible groups on our efforts, many of the issues we work on are only worked on by Jubilee USA, our founding groups and member organizations. It is why we so depend on your gift. While our global impact is in the billions, many people think our annual budget is in the millions. However, while our annual budget is growing, its only about $600,000. Its why any size gift is so important, why its needed and why it goes such a long way.

Jubilee USA is a small organization with a big "David versus Goliath" impact and when you give a tax-deductible gift today it will be matched up to $20,000.

I'm so grateful for your partnership and to be able to do this work with you. Thanks in advance for supporting our Jubilee USA efforts.

Gratefully,

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Eric LeCompte
Executive Director
Twitter: @Eric_LeCompte
www.jubileeusa.org/support-us

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