Tell the Senate to include Student Debt Relief in Stimulus Package

Urgent Student Debt Stimulus Action: Student debt relief is now being debated in stimulus package negotiations on Capitol Hill. President Trump just indicated that student debt relief measures passed in the Spring could be extended in the final Congressional package. This is thanks to Jubilee USA's bipartisan efforts and now we need you to take action.

Call the Capitol Switchboard 202-224-3121 and ask for your Senators. You will need to call twice to reach each of your US Senators.  If you need help finding your Senators, you can ask the Capitol Switchboard attendant by telling them what state you reside in or use this link.

LEAVE THIS MESSAGE: 


"Thank you for taking my call. I live in your state, my name and address is______________. I want the Senator to pass a stimulus package that:

1.) Extends the student debt payment moratorium through the end of this year and 2021 in final stimulus legislation,
2.) Includes the class of 2020,
3.) Cancels student debt for those struggling most,
4.) Suspends payments of private student loans and
5.) Expands bankruptcy law to cover student debt."


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Student Debt Stimulus Negotiations, Call the Senate

Friends,

Student debt relief is now included in round the clock coronavirus stimulus package negotiations on Capitol Hill. On Thursday, President Trump indicated that student debt relief measures passed in the Spring could be extended in the final Congressional package that Jubilee USA is working on.

Over the last 10 years, Jubilee USA led critical campaigns to relieve student debt and keep interest rates low. We can now make big gains in the stimulus negotiations.

Please call your Please call your Senators now. During a crisis that rivals the Great Depression, the government can help 45 million Americans holding student debt. At minimum, Congress must extend debt payment relief through the end of the year. We'll need more relief, but this stimulus package should extend the student debt payment moratorium.

On September 30th, the student debt payment suspension that Congress passed as part of the CARES Act stimulus package in the Spring, expires. The Act put in place 0% interest rates and stopped federal collection of student loans. More than 92% of all student loans are federal loans and top 1.5 trillion dollars of debt.

We need to do more.

We need to extend student debt relief through 2021, create debt cancellation processes for those struggling most and make sure the class of 2020 can also be included in debt relief measures. While it's less than 8% of total student debt, it's critical that Congress also brings private sector student loans to the debt relief table too. Call your Senators so student debt relief is included in the stimulus package.

Private student debt amounts to $124.65 billion. The House of Representatives passed the $3 trillion HEROES Act stimulus package in May that included $10,000 of debt forgiveness for either federal or private student debt for borrowers deeply impacted by the crisis. The initial $1 trillion HEALS Act introduced by Senate Republicans this week did not include student debt relief measures.

Earlier this week student debt relief was not part of the debate. Because we acted, now we have a chance of including it in the coronavirus stimulus package. Tell your Senators, extend the debt relief moratorium and bankruptcy protection for student debt.

Over the last week, you generated thousands of calls to the Senate to ratify the global coronavirus debt relief and development aid measures we won from the White House and G20 in the Spring.

On Tuesday we sent a letter from Puerto Rico's major religious leaders to Congress to spur job creation, food security and disaster aid as part of the coronavirus stimulus plan. Religious leaders representing over 95% of Puerto Rico's people signed the Jubilee letter and it included leaders from the Catholic, Methodist, Lutheran, Christian (Disciples) and Evangelical Churches. The Puerto Rico Council of Churches, Catholic Charities (Caritas) and the General Bible Society also added their names to the letter to Congress.

Your actions are making a big difference during these stimulus negotiations. As Congress negotiates the inclusion of student debt relief, please call your Senator now.

Gratefully,

Zach

Zachary Conti
Director of Policy and Advocacy
Twitter: @JubileeUSA
www.jubileeusa.org/support-us

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Stimulus Plan Negotiations Turn to Student Debt

Washington DC - Student debt relief is now included in round the clock stimulus package negotiations on Capitol Hill. On Thursday, President Trump indicated that student debt relief measures passed in the Spring could be extended in the final Congressional package.

"During a crisis that rivals the Great Depression, the government can help 45 million Americans holding student debt," stated Eric LeCompte who directs the religious debt relief group Jubilee USA. "At minimum, Congress must extend debt payment relief through the end of the year. We'll need more relief, but this stimulus package should extend the debt payment moratorium."

On September 30th, the student debt payment suspension that Congress passed as part of the CARES Act stimulus package in the Spring, expires. The Act put in place 0% interest rates and stopped federal collection of student loans. More than 92% of all student loans are federal loans and top 1.5 trillion dollars of debt.

"We really need to start working on extending student debt relief through 2021, create debt cancellation processes for those struggling most and make sure the class of 2020 can also be included in debt relief measures," noted LeCompte whose organization leads campaigns to keep interest rates low on certain types of federal student loans. "While it's less than 8% of total student debt, it's critical that Congress also brings private sector student loans to the debt relief table too."

Private student debt amounts to $124.65 billion. The House of Representatives passed the $3 trillion HEROES Act stimulus package in May that included $10,000 of debt forgiveness for either federal or private student debt for borrowers deeply impacted by the crisis. The initial $1 trillion HEALS Act introduced by Senate Republicans this week did not include student debt relief measures.

"Currently, student loans are not addressed in a bankruptcy proceeding. Congress should extend bankruptcy protection to include student debt," said LeCompte.

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El plan de estímulo fiscal debe incluir a Puerto Rico, dicen líderes religiosos de la isla

Washington DC - Líderes religiosos que representan más del 95% de la población de Puerto Rico escribieron al Congreso instando a que se incluya a la isla en el próximo plan de estímulo. La creación de empleos, el alivio para desastres y las protecciones para los segmentos más vulnerables fueron los planteamientos en una carta firmada por líderes de las iglesias católica, metodista, luterana, cristiana (discípulos) y evangélicas, El Consejo de Iglesias de Puerto Rico, Caritas de Puert Rico y la Sociedad Bíblica de Puerto Rico también agregaron sus nombres a la carta al Congreso.

"Casi el 60% de nuestros niños, ciudadanos estadounidenses, viven bajo niveles de pobreza en Puerto Rico. Nuestros niños necesitan una acción urgente en el Congreso", escribieron líderes religiosos que incluyeron a Roberto González, arzobispo católico  de San Juan y el líder evangélico, Heriberto. Martínez, "Alentamos al Congreso a implementar medidas inmediatas para devolver los empleos de manufactura a Puerto Rico, mediante la adopción de una legislación que promueva los productos farmacéuticos para estimular la recuperación económica y la creación de empleos en áreas de alto desempleo y pobreza", continuó la carta del líder religioso al Congreso.

A mediados de la década de 2000, el Congreso no renovó los incentivos para estimular empleos farmacéuticos en Puerto Rico y se perdieron aproximadamente 100,000 empleos. En la carta al Congreso, los líderes religiosos instaron medidas para restaurar estos trabajos y argumentaron que Puerto Rico tiene mano de obra calificada y capacidad para ayudar a satisfacer las necesidades de producción de equipos de protección personal y otros suministros para enfrentar COVID-19.

En 2015, los líderes religiosos de Puerto Rico fueron los primeros en dar la alarma sobre la crisis de deuda de la isla y notaron que la pérdida de empleos farmacéuticos, en parte, provocó la crisis. Más tarde, los líderes se reunieron varias  con los líderes de la Casa Blanca y el Congreso para avanzar en la reducción de la pobreza infantil y los esfuerzos de alivio de la deuda y los desastres que azotaron a la isla.

Esta comunicación al Congreso de los líderes religiosos, llega al Congreso en un momento donde el término para extender los beneficios de alimentos expira la semana entrante. Parte del financiamiento para el Programa de Asistencia Nutricional (PAN) de Puerto Rico vence el 31 de julio y puede dejar a 190,000 personas de los segmentos más vulnerables sin beneficios de acceso a alimentos. En la era del COVID-19 y continuos desastres naturales en Puerto Rico, provocados por el Calentamiento Global, el programa PAN (por sus siglas en inglés) apoya a 1.5 millones de personas o la mitad de la población actual de la isla.

"Estamos lidiando con una crisis como ninguna otra y Puerto Rico debería ser incluido en el plan de estímulo", dijo Eric LeCompte, Director Ejecutivo de Jubilee USA, quien asesora a los líderes religiosos de Puerto Rico. "El Congreso puede tomar medidas que beneficien al pueblo de Puerto Rico y la lucha contra el coronavirus".

Con las cadenas de suministro de productos farmacéuticos de coronavirus bajo presión ​​en los Estados Unidos, los líderes religiosos argumentan que la producción en Puerto Rico es una parte crítica para la solución de la crisis actual.

La carta fue firmada por Felipe Lozada Montañez, Presidente del Consejo de Iglesias de Puerto Rico y Obispo Emérito de la Iglesia Evangélica Luterana, Miguel A. Morales Castro, Pastor General de la Iglesia Cristiana (Discípulos de Cristo), Héctor F. Ortiz Vidal el Obispo de la Iglesia Metodista, Reverendo Enrique Camacho, Director Ejecutivo de Cáritas (Caridades Católicas), Reverendo Heriberto Martínez Rivera, Secretario General de la Sociedad Bíblica de Puerto Rico, Roberto O. González Nieves, Arzobispo Metropolitano de la Arquidiócesis de San Juan de Puerto Rico, Rubén González Medina, Obispo de la Diócesis de Ponce, Esteban González Dobles, ex Pastor General de la Iglesia Cristiana y Rafael Moreno Rivas, Obispo Emérito de la Iglesia Metodista.

Carta de Lideres Religiosos de Puerto Rico al Congreso sobre Estimulo Fiscal


28 de julio de 2020
Jubilee USA Network
110 Maryland Ave. NE, Ste 210
Washington, D.C.20002

28 de julio de 2020

El honorable Mitch McConnell
Líder de la Mayoría
Senado de los Estados Unidos
Capitolio de EE. UU.
Washington, DC 20515

El honorable Chuck Schumer
Líder de la Minoría
Senado de los Estados Unidos
Capitolio de EE. UU.
Washington, DC 20515

La honorable Nancy Pelosi
Presidenta de la Camara de Representantes
Cámara de representantes de los Estados Unidos
Capitolio de EE. UU.
Washington, DC 20515

El honorable Kevin McCarthy
Líder de la Minoría
Cámara de representantes de los Estados Unidos
Capitolio de EE. UU.
Washington, DC 20515

"Será echado un puñado de grano en la tierra, en las cumbres de los montes;
Su fruto hará ruido como el Líbano, Y los de la ciudad florecerán como la hierba de la tierra.". --- Salmo 72:16

Estimado líder McConnell, líder Schumer, Presidenta de la Cámara Pelosi y líder McCarthy,

A medida que ustedes avanzan los planes para un nuevo estímulo fiscal y su agenda legislativa, le solicitamos que por favor implementen planes que, ofrezcan e incluyan alivio y oportunidades para el pueblo de Puerto Rico. Estamos agradecidos por los esfuerzos pasados del Congreso y creemos que las acciones de estímulo fiscal, no solo beneficiarían a los ciudadanos estadounidenses de Puerto Rico, sino que también, beneficiarían a todos los ciudadanos estadounidenses en los 50 estados y otros territorios que luchan contra la pandemia del coronavirus.

1. Alentamos al Congreso a implementar de inmediato medidas, para devolver los empleos en el sector de la manufactura a Puerto Rico, mediante la adopción de una legislación que impulse los productos farmacéuticos para promover la recuperación económica y la creación de empleos en áreas de alto desempleo y pobreza en la isla. Puerto Rico cuenta con mano de obra calificada, la capacidad y la infraestructura para inmediatamente fabricar equipos farmacéuticos y de protección personal adicionales, para la lucha contra el COVID-19. De modo que se podría aumentar los suministros en los Estados Unidos de estos equipos. A mediados de la década de 2000, Puerto Rico perdió más de 100,000 empleos bien remunerados que rotaron hacia India y China. Esta pérdida condujo a nuestra actual crisis de deuda pública y a muchos de los desafíos económicos que enfrentamos hoy, situación que se magnifica aún más por una serie de desastres naturales que han azotado la isla en años recientes. Dadas las limitaciones que existen en las cadenas de suministro globales y las necesidades críticas que enfrentan todos los ciudadanos estadounidenses, los planes de estímulo fiscal actuales, deben incluir medidas para traer empleos de fabricación de productos farmacéuticos de inmediato a Puerto Rico y revivir la economía de Puerto Rico, que está en quiebra y llena de deudas.

2. Casi el 60% de nuestros niños, ciudadanos estadounidenses, viven bajo niveles de pobreza en Puerto Rico. Nuestros niños tienen una necesidad urgente de la acción del Congreso. El sufrimiento que enfrentan nuestros niños y niñas, debido al alto nivel de pobreza, los desastres naturales recurrentes y ahora COVID-19, es simplemente una situación trágica. El 1 de agosto, muchos de nuestros niños y niñas perderán los beneficios del Programa de Asistencia Nutricional y casi 190,000 personas de sectores vulnerables quedarán excluidas de estos beneficios. La acción del Congreso debe buscar garantizar que, antes del 31 de julio, $ 1,236 mil millones de dólares estén autorizados para continuar este programa que, afecta a casi 1.5 millones de ciudadanos estadounidenses que residen en Puerto Rico.

3. El Congreso debe impulsar fondos adicionales, para la recuperación por desastres para Puerto Rico. El impacto devastador de los huracanes Irma y María, los terremotos y el coronavirus afectan a los ciudadanos estadounidenses en la isla. Estimados conservadores señalan que, Puerto Rico necesita $ 60 mil millones adicionales en ayuda para su recuperación. Esperamos que el Congreso pueda proveer esta ayuda para los ciudadanos estadounidenses que, viven en Puerto Rico, de manera que se logre impulsar una agenda comercial amplia, crítica para todos los ciudadanos estadounidenses que viven en la isla.

Los mantenemos a ustedes y su misión de servicio al público en nuestras oraciones diarias.

Sinceramente,

Roberto O. González Nieves OFM Arzobispo Metropolitano de la Arquidiócesis Católica Romana de San Juan de Puerto Rico

Rubén González Medina CMF Obispo de la diócesis católica romana de Ponce

Reverendo Felipe Lozada Montañez
Presidente del Consejo de Iglesias de Puerto Rico y obispo emérito del Evangélico Luterano en Puerto Rico

Reverendo Miguel A. Morales Castro
Pastor General de la Iglesia Cristiana (Discípulos de Cristo) en Puerto Rico

Reverendo Héctor F. Ortiz Vidal
Obispo de la Iglesia Metodista de Puerto Rico

Reverendo Esteban González Dobles
Ex Pastor General de la Iglesia Cristiana (Discípulos de Cristo) en Puerto Rico

Reverendo Rafael Moreno Rivas
Obispo emérito de la Iglesia Metodista de Puerto Rico

Reverendo Heriberto Martínez Rivera
Secretario General de la Sociedad Bíblica de Puerto Rico

Reverendo Enrique Camacho
Director Ejecutivo de Cáritas (Caridades Católicas) de Puerto Rico

CC: miembros del Congreso

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Puerto Rico Religious Leader Stimulus Letter to Congress

Jubilee USA Network
110 Maryland Ave. NE, Ste 210
Washington, D.C. 20002

July 28, 2020

The Honorable Mitch McConnell
Majority Leader
United States Senate
U.S. Capitol
Washington, DC 20515

The Honorable Chuck Schumer
Minority Leader
United States Senate
U.S. Capitol
Washington, DC 20515

The Honorable Nancy Pelosi
Speaker of the House
United States House of Representatives
U.S. Capitol
Washington, DC 20515

The Honorable Kevin McCarthy
Minority Leader
United States House of Representatives
U.S. Capitol
Washington, DC 20515

"May there be abundance of grain in the land; on the tops of the mountains may it wave; may its fruit be like Lebanon; and may people blossom in the cities like the grass of the field!" --- Psalm 72:16

Dear Leader McConnell, Leader Schumer, Speaker Pelosi and Leader McCarthy,

As you move forward stimulus plans and your legislative agenda, please implement plans that offer both relief and opportunity for the people of Puerto Rico. We are grateful for many of the past efforts of Congress and we believe certain stimulus actions will not only benefit the US citizens of Puerto Rico, but could also benefit all US citizens across the 50 states and other territories battling the coronavirus pandemic.

1.) We encourage Congress to immediately implement measures to return manufacturing jobs to Puerto Rico, by adopting legislation that encourages pharmaceuticals to spur economic recovery and job creation in areas of high unemployment and poverty. Puerto Rico has skilled labor, the capacity, and the facilities to immediately take up additional pharmaceutical and personal protective equipment manufacturing, to aid in the fight against COVID-19 and increase supplies in the United States. In the mid-2000s, Puerto Rico lost over 100,000 good jobs to India and China. This loss led to our current debt crisis and many of the economic challenges we now face, further exasperated by a series of natural disasters. Given the constraints that exist in global supply chains and critical needs faced by all US citizens, current stimulus plans should include measures to bring pharmaceutical manufacturing jobs immediately to Puerto Rico and revive Puerto Rico's failing and debt-burdened economy.

2.) Nearly 60% of our children, US citizens, live in poverty in Puerto Rico. Our children are in vital need of Congressional action. The suffering our children face from the high-level of poverty, the recurring natural disasters and now COVID-19, can only be described as tragic. On August 1st, many of our children will lose Nutrition Assistance Program benefits and nearly 190,000 vulnerable people will be cut from these benefits. Congressional action must ensure that by July 31st, $1.236 billion dollars is authorized to continue this program that impacts almost 1.5 million US citizens who reside in Puerto Rico.

3.) Congress should move forward additional disaster recovery monies for Puerto Rico. The devastating impact of Hurricanes Irma and Maria, earthquakes and the coronavirus impact US citizens on the island. Conservative estimates note that Puerto Rico needs an additional $60 billion in recovery aid. We hope Congress can move forward this aid for the US citizens living in Puerto Rico and for the broader commerce agenda critical for all US citizens.

Please know we continue to hold you and your public service mission in our daily prayers.

Sincerely,

Roberto O. González Nieves OFM
Metropolitan Archbishop of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of San Juan de Puerto Rico

Rubén González Medina CMF
Bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Ponce

Reverend Felipe Lozada Montañez
President of the Puerto Rico Council of Churches and Emeritus Bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran in Puerto Rico

Reverend Miguel A. Morales Castro
General Pastor of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in Puerto Rico

Reverend Héctor F. Ortiz Vidal
Bishop of the Methodist Church of Puerto Rico

Reverend Esteban González Dobles
Former General Pastor of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in Puerto Rico

Reverend Rafael Moreno Rivas
Emeritus Bishop of the Methodist Church of Puerto Rico

Reverend Heriberto Martínez Rivera
General Secretary of the Puerto Rico Bible Society

Reverend Enrique Camacho
Executive Director of Cáritas (Catholic Charities) of Puerto Rico

CC: Members of Congress

Download the letter as a PDF here.

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Stimulus Plan Must Include Puerto Rico Say Major Religious Leaders

Washington DC - Religious leaders representing over 95% of Puerto Rico's population wrote Congress urging that the island be included in the next stimulus plan. Job creation, disaster relief and protections for the vulnerable were lifted in a letter signed by leaders of the Catholic, Methodist, Lutheran, Christian (Disciples) and Evangelical Churches. The Puerto Rico Council of Churches, Catholic Charities (Caritas) and the General Bible Society also added their names to the letter to Congress.

"Nearly 60% of our children, US citizens, live in poverty in Puerto Rico. Our children are in vital need of Congressional action," wrote the religious leaders who included Roberto González, the Roman Catholic Archbishop of San Juan and Evangelical leader, Heriberto Martínez. "We encourage Congress to immediately implement measures to return manufacturing jobs to Puerto Rico, by adopting legislation that encourages pharmaceuticals to spur economic recovery and job creation in areas of high unemployment and poverty," the religious leader letter to Congress continued.

In the mid-2000s, Congress did not renew incentives for pharmaceutical jobs in Puerto Rico and tens of thousands of jobs were lost. In the letter to Congress, the religious leaders urged measures to restore these jobs and argued that Puerto Rico has skilled labor and capacity to help meet production needs for personal protective equipment and other supplies to confront COVID-19.

In 2015, Puerto Rico's religious leaders were the first to raise the alarm on the island's debt crisis and noted the loss of pharmaceutical jobs, in part, led to the crisis. Later, the leaders continually met with the White House and Congress leadership to move forward child poverty reduction and disaster and debt relief efforts.

The communication to Congress from the faith leaders comes as food benefits expire this week. Some funding for Puerto Rico's Nutrition Assistance Program (NAP) expires on July 31st and leaves 190,000 vulnerable people without food access benefits. In the age of COVID-19 and continuing natural disasters in Puerto Rico, the NAP program supports 1.5 million people or half of the current population.

"We are dealing with a crisis like no other and Puerto Rico should be included in the stimulus plan," said Jubilee USA Executive Director Eric LeCompte who advises Puerto Rico's religious leaders. "Congress can take action that benefits Puerto Rico's people and the fight against the coronavirus."

With supply chains for pharmaceutical coronavirus products stressed in the US, the religious leaders argue that production in Puerto Rico is a critical part of the solution.

The letter was signed by Felipe Lozada Montañez the President of the Puerto Rico Council of Churches and Emeritus Bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church, Miguel A. Morales Castro the General Pastor of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), Héctor F. Ortiz Vidal the Bishop of the Methodist Church, Reverend Enrique Camacho the Executive Director of Cáritas (Catholic Charities), Reverend Heriberto Martínez Rivera the General Secretary of the Puerto Rico Bible Society, Roberto O. González Nieves the Metropolitan Archbishop of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of San Juan de Puerto Rico, Rubén González Medina the Bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Ponce, Esteban González Dobles the former General Pastor of the Christian Church and Rafael Moreno Rivas the Emeritus Bishop of the Methodist Church.

Read the Puerto Rico stimulus religious leader letter to Congress here.

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We Won. Stimulus Debt Relief Happening Now

Thanks to your work for the last decade and generating tens of thousands of messages to Congress over the last year, Jubilee's Corporate Transparency Amendment passed the House. Your phone calls this week made a big difference. Now - during the Fall our transparency legislation to protect debt relief and prevent human trafficking can be negotiated in a final package with the Senate.

Today - I urgently write you as we enter final stimulus negotiations on global debt relief. With the support of the White House, all of the debt relief initiatives for the world's poorest 73 countries in April we won from the G20 and IMF - must now be ratified by Congress. Further, Congress can move forward debt cancellation and critical transparency initiatives.

Please call both of your Senators now. Tell them to support White House and Treasury plans to suspend debt payments for the world's poorest countries. Tell your Senators to support initiatives to cancel debt and increase transparency in debt relief measures. Tell them to support bipartisan efforts to help developing countries address the health and economic impacts of the coronavirus.

Together, in April we won 6 months of debt cancellation for the 25 poorest countries. We moved forward a new process to suspend debt payments for the 73 poorest countries. As these countries all face growing infection rates and famine because of COVID-19, some of these countries have zero critical care units for their population. The lucky ones may have 50 to support millions of people.

Already, for countries that count their budgets in the tens of millions - $6 billion dollars in debt relief has been generated. It's possible as our plans move forward we can generate more than $20 billion.

But Congress must act and must include these debt relief provisions in the Stimulus and encourage permanent reductions of debt. Congress should include broader international development assistance. Stimulus negotiations on our plans continue through the weekend and the Capitol Switch board is open 24/7 so you can leave a critical message for your Senators when you receive this message.

Congressional Quarterly cites Jubilee USA's work as the last standing bipartisan efforts on Capitol Hill. Together, we moved the White House. Now, we must move the Senate to include and increase our debt relief and debt cancellation efforts for developing countries so they can survive a pandemic that is taking lives and destroying livelihoods.

In addition to securing global debt relief and development aid in this stimulus package, we are also focused on measures to aid the 3 million people suffering in Puerto Rico and move forward student debt relief.

Please call both of your Senators now. Please keep calling through this weekend until we secure these critical Jubilee provisions.

We are so grateful for your support and partnership.

Best,

Eric

Eric LeCompte
Executive Director

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

 

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Call the Senate: Urgent Stimulus Package Debt and Development Negotiations

Call the Capitol Switchboard 202-224-3121 and ask for your Senators. You will need to call twice to reach each of your US Senators. 

If you need help finding your Senators, you can ask the Capitol Switchboard attendant by telling them what state you reside or use this link.

Once you are connected, ask to leave a time-sensitive Stimulus Package message for your Senator.

"Thank you for taking my call. My address is______________ and I live in the Senator's state. Please tell your boss, that the current Stimulus Package should include international development assistance, specifically debt relief measures that are supported by the White House and US Treasury for the 73 poorest countries of the world. In addition, please support measures that can cancel debt and support accountable reporting to Congress on how debt relief helps these 73 developing countries address the severe health and economic impacts of the coronavirus crisis. Thank-you."

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Devex Quotes Eric LeCompte on G20 meeting, lack of decisions

A steep budget cut for U.K. aid, the G-20 falls short on debt relief decisions, and the European Union’s pandemic aid package goes missing. Read an excerpt below, and click here for the full story.

UK aid cuts, G-20 debt delays, and the EU's budget deal: This week in development

By Michael Igoe

The U.K. government plans to cut its aid budget by $3.7 billion — a larger reduction than many expected — which was announced without consultation or explanation, critics say. The decrease, described in a letter from Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab to chairs of parliamentary select committees and first reported by Devex, amounts to roughly 20% of the country’s aid budget and reflects Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s direction to reduce aid in line with projected economic fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic. "Given the likely decrease in the size of the economy this year, the Prime Minister asked me to identify the changes needed to ensure we meet, but do not exceed the 0.7% commitment," Raab wrote, referring to the U.K. law that ties aid spending to gross national income. “What kind of people are we that we are taking steps to avoid spending more than we have to on aid in the midst of a global health and economic crisis?” Owen Barder, CEO of Precision Agriculture for Development, asked on Twitter. Some of the cuts are expected to take place immediately, and Raab wrote that the “package includes underspends, delaying activity and stopping some spend.” The government will also tailor its spending for the remainder of the year as it develops a “clearer economic picture.” Sarah Champion, chair of the International Development Committee, which monitors official development assistance spending, told Devex she is worried about “the speed at which these decisions have been made, the lack of transparency about what is being cut and why, and clearly the lack of consultation about it.”

The G-20 pushed decisions about further debt suspension or forgiveness off to the fall. The group of leading rich and developing nations met last weekend and discussed additional action but could not come to agreement. A communiqué from the G-20 meeting reported that 42 countries have requested to participate in the debt service suspension initiative announced in April, which means about $5.3 billion in debt payments will be deferred. The G-20 used stronger language to call on the private sector to participate in the debt freeze. Development advocates hoped to see at least an extension of debt relief, as well as conversations that would lay the groundwork for future debt forgiveness, action on helping cash-strapped middle-income countries, and discussions on issuing International Monetary Fund special drawing rights. “Given how severe the crisis continues to be, we hoped that would see at least some minimal action,” Eric LeCompte, executive director of the Jubilee USA Network, told Devex. The G-20 got caught up in politics and could not build the consensus it needed to make a decision, he said, adding that delays in decision-making could cost lives and create difficulties for countries planning their finances.

European Union leaders agreed to a long-awaited budget deal on Tuesday, adding an $860 billion pandemic recovery fund to a seven-year, $1.24 trillion budget. The deal left some development advocates underwhelmed, as it included only a slight increase in external spending — from an estimated $113 billion in the previous cycle to $114 billion for 2021-2027. The European Commission had previously proposed an additional $18 billion development and humanitarian spending package, but this proposal disappeared over the course of difficult negotiations among states grappling with the economic shock of the pandemic. Andrew Sherriff, head of the European external affairs program at the European Centre for Development Policy Management think tank, told Devex the outcome was disappointing, given “the rhetoric of the Geopolitical commission, COVID-19's global impact, addressing climate change and much talk about an enhanced partnership with Africa,” though he noted that external spending fared better in the negotiations than some other budget lines. Others pointed to silver linings including a digital levy, environmental taxes, and a possible financial transaction tax.

Read more here.

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Vatican News Highlights Eric LeCompte's Remarks on G20 Talks

Vatican News talked to Jubilee USA Executive Director Eric LeCompte about the recent G20 discussions on coronavirus relief efforts. Read an excerpt below, and click here for the full story.

Covid 19: G20 nations put off debt relief decisions until autumn meeting

By Fr. Benedict Mayaki, SJ

Reacting to the latest development, Jubilee USA Executive Director, Eric LeCompte, said that he “had hoped the debt payment suspension for the world’s poorest countries would be continued into 2021 given the severity of the crisis.”

Appeals for expanded debt suspension - 

Ahead of last Saturday’s meeting, Jubilee USA, an interfaith alliance of religious, development and advocacy organizations, sent a letter to the G20 Finance Ministers calling for action in the face of the Covid-19 crisis. 

The letter, signed by over 200 organizations, recommended expanded debt relief, more aid for developing countries, processes to curb corruption, and enacting market and financial crisis protections for more developing countries.

Read more here.

 

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House Vote Now: Jubilee Corporate Transparency, Human Trafficking, Debt, Tax, AML

Friends,

The House is about to vote on an amendment for Jubilee legislation a decade in the making. Our legislation can help stop human trafficking, promote transparency, curb corruption and tax evasion and protect debt relief and development aid. 

This is happening because of the tens of thousands of calls, e-mails, letters and messages you sent to Congress over the last year and a half.

Please call your US Representative now and ask them to vote YES on House Amendment 1 Corporate Transparency Act. This will reveal the true owners of secret, "anonymous" shell companies.

Development aid and debt relief are stolen by dictators through the use of shell companies.

We coordinated 100 faith communities and organizations to urge Congress to pass strong transparency measures that reveal the true ownership of these anonymous companies. Our religious groups, calling for greater transparency, include some of the largest religious institutions and groups in the United States, including: Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), The Episcopal Church, The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, The National Council of Churches, The Presbyterian Church (USA), The United Church of Christ, The United Methodist Church - General Board of Church and Society, Catholic religious orders and Jewish, Christian and Muslim communities.

Please make a call today and urge your US Representative to stop human trafficking, corruption and tax evasion. Call your US Representative now and tell them to protect development aid and debt relief and support Amendment 1, en bloc 1 - the Maloney Amendment.

Thanks,

Zach

Zachary Conti
Director of Policy and Advocacy
Twitter: @JubileeUSA
www.jubileeusa.org/support-us

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G20 Waits for Fall Meetings for Coronavirus Crisis Decisions

Washington DC - On Saturday, G20 Finance Ministers met virtually on the global health and economic impacts of the coronavirus. A communiqué issued by the Ministers pushed decisions on the crisis to later in the year.

"Decisions on further debt payment suspensions, permanent reductions of debt, trillions of dollars of needed aid and extending debt relief to more struggling countries will be left for meetings later this year," stated Jubilee USA Executive Director Eric LeCompte who monitors the G20. "We had hoped the debt payment suspension for the world's poorest countries would be continued into 2021 given the severity of the crisis."

In April the G20 approved a plan for 73 developing countries to suspend debt payments to G20 countries. 42 countries applied for the program that offers debt relief until the end of 2020.

"The G20 Finance Ministers offered stronger language on private sector participation in debt relief initiatives for poor countries," said LeCompte who serves on United Nations finance expert groups. "This is important as some private sector creditors are resisting the debt relief process."

Jubilee USA organized a letter, signed by hundreds of organizations, to the G20 Finance Ministers ahead of their meeting calling for action in the face of the coronavirus crisis. The letter recommended expanded debt relief, more aid for developing countries, processes to curb tax evasion and corruption and enacting market and financial crisis protections. The letter was signed by more than 200 groups and included some of the largest religious, labor, human rights, development and environmental institutions.

In the Fall, the United Nations General Assembly meets. However the next round of decisions on coronavirus health and economic solutions most likely will take place at October IMF and World Bank meetings and November G20 meetings.

"The G20 wants to see more aid and financing options to consider from the IMF in the Fall. This is an allusion to accessing global reserve funds or what's known as the Special Drawing Rights," said LeCompte. "The Finance Ministers also emphasized again a strong commitment to moving forward global anti-corruption and anti-money laundering laws."

Read the G20 Finance Minister Communiqué here.

Read Jubilee USA's press release on the G20 letter from hundreds of Religious, Labor, Human Rights, Environmental and Development Groups.

Read the Jubilee USA letter to the G20, IMF and White House signed by 213 groups.

Read Jubilee USA's March coronavirus response plan letter.

Read Jubilee USA Director Eric LeCompte's June 2nd address to the special session of the United Nations on coronavirus crisis solutions here.

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