New York Debt Relief Bill Must Pass, Say Unions, Religious Groups, Development Organizations and Environmental Coalitions 

Law Passing Before NY Legislature Session Ends in June is Decided by Senate Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins, Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie, Ways and Means Chair Helene Weinstein and New York Governor Kathy Hochul

As Daily Vigils Begin Outside New York Senate and Assembly Chambers, Advocates Assert Law Addresses Global Poverty, Pandemic Challenges, Climate Change and Inflation

A bill requiring predatory "vulture" funds and private lenders to participate in debt relief for developing countries is moving through the New York State legislature. The New York Taxpayer and International Debt Crises Protection Act (A2970/S4747) cleared the Judiciary Committee of the Assembly with a bipartisan vote. Observers note that this is the first global debt relief bill to move in the New York legislature in almost 20 years. 

“The Governor, the Assembly Speaker and Senate Leader have to make a choice between some of their donors and a growing religion and labor coalition advocating for more than 60 countries in severe debt crises," said Eric LeCompte, Executive Director of the development organization Jubilee USA Network. “Too many developing countries can't provide food, healthcare and education for all of their people. The bill can help New Yorkers struggling with the cost of food. A decision can't wait and New York's leadership must get the bill to the floor for a vote this week."

From across New York State, more people are arriving in Albany this week to push passage of the bill. Constituents inundated the New York Senate and Assembly with thousands of emails, calls and messages to urge passage of the New York Taxpayer and International Debt Crises Protection Act this session (A2970/S4747). On Tuesday at 1:30 PM, daily vigils will begin outside the Senate and Assembly Chambers inside the New York State Capitol Building.

Lawmakers note they rarely see this level of support for any legislation. Economics Nobel Prize Winner Joseph Stiglitz, Argentina’s Former Economy Minister Martin Guzman and Colombia’s Former Finance Minister Jose Antonio Ocampo wrote a memo outlining the benefits for borrowers, investors and the international financial system in the legislation. The chiefs of the IMF, World Bank and African Finance Ministers also called for New York legislative solutions. In a letter to New York State lawmakers, the UN Independent Expert on Foreign Debt and Human Rights underscored the human rights benefits the legislation will bring.

The growing coalition of labor, religious, development, anti-poverty and environmental supporters include the New York AFL-CIO, New York AFSCME, the New York State Public Employees Federation, 1199SEIU United Healthcare Workers East Union, the Communications Workers of America, the New York State Catholic Conference, the New York State Council of Churches, the United Church of Christ, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America Upstate New York Synod, the Methodist Church, the Presbyterian Church, Oxfam America, Bread for the World, the ONE Campaign, BRAC International, Catholic Climate Covenant, NY Renews and Fridays for Future. Puerto Rico's Speaker of the House and religious leaders on the island also voiced strong support for the bill.

"While this is a moral and ethical choice to move the legislation to the floor for a vote, it's also practical and necessary for New Yorkers," shared LeCompte who serves on United Nations Expert Finance Groups. "The law can lower food and fuel costs, stop economic shocks and ensure that New York is no longer an outlier in the global financial system. The bill must pass now to ensure that New York remains the world's primary financial jurisdiction."

Globally, the major debt and development coalitions, Latin America Network for Social and Economic Justice, the African Forum and Network on Debt and Development, Jubilee Caribbean, the European Network on Debt and Development, Debt Justice UK and Jubilee Germany are in support. Religious networks like the Caritas Africa and the Jesuit Justice and Ecology Network Africa also weighed in favor. In a statement, 23 Catholic Bishops from Africa urged passage of the legislation.

Find All Memos/Letters of Support for the New York Taxpayer and International Debt Crises Protection Act here.

Read all of the New York Taxpayer and International Debt Crises Protection Act resources here.

On Tuesday, June 6th through Friday, June 9th, an interfaith silent vigil will be taking place outside of the New York State Capitol Senate and Assembly Chambers from 1:30 - 2:30 PM.