Ballooning Student Debt Debated by Presidential Hopefuls

Washington DC - American student loan debt topped $1.6 trillion dollars this year, surpassing credit card and auto loan debt combined. More than 45 million people hold student debt, owing an average of $35,000. 20% of current borrowers are behind in student loan payments and the Brookings Institution released data that 40% of student borrowers will default by 2023.

Presidential candidates, Senators Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) proposed student debt relief plans. The Sanders plan seeks to eliminate all student debt while the Warren plan offers substantial relief on a sliding income scale.

“Student debt is a cause of inequality and a challenge for our economic growth,” stated Eric LeCompte, Executive Director of the religious debt watchdog group Jubilee USA Network. “Americans need student loan relief and we also need solutions for the root causes of high student debt. We need to reign in for-profit colleges and schools that have low retention rates. Student borrowers should be able to access bankruptcy protection and we need to address the high costs of university education.”

The Trump Administration suggests there should be caps on student lending that, the White House argues, would drive the cost of college tuition down and ensure responsible lending and borrowing. In the last Congress, Representative Virginia Foxx (R-NC) sponsored the Prosper Act to stop student loans from accruing interest while students are still taking classes. Foxx's legislation would also eliminate or lower other types of federal aid or student loan relief.

"When students graduate with high debts, they don't buy homes and invest in our economy. Student debt is affecting our entire economy and we can not afford to leave this problem unaddressed," noted LeCompte. 

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Senate Bill Tackles Tax Evasion, Secrecy and Money Laundering

Washington DC - Last Wednesday, Senators Ron Wyden (D-OR), Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) introduced the Corporate Transparency Act of 2019, which would reveal the secret owners of shell corporations to law enforcement.

"This legislation is critical to stop crime, tax evasion and corruption," stated United Nations finance expert and Jubilee USA Executive Director, Eric LeCompte. "Shell companies facilitate human trafficking, tax evasion and the stealing of relief monies in the developing world."

In mid-June the House of Representatives voted in the House Financial Services Committee to release the House Bill for a vote this year. The House legislation is sponsored by Representative Carolyn Maloney (D-NY), Representative Peter King (R-NY) and Representative Tom Malinowski (D-NJ).  

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IMF's Lagarde Nominated to Head European Central Bank

Jubilee USA Releases Statement 

Washington DC - The head of the International Monetary Fund, Christine Lagarde, was nominated Tuesday to lead the European Central Bank.

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

"Lagarde brings a lot to the helm of the European Central Bank. She understands the concerns of potential financial crisis and the need for keeping women at the center of decision-making.

"Her legal background is important as our global economy needs more than economic forecasts and now requires legal solutions to ensure financial stability.

"During her time at the IMF, Lagarde dealt with the Greek crisis and came to understand that austerity is a deterrent for economic growth. This lesson is important as economic policies need to support growth and sustain employment across Europe."

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We Won - NAFTA, Puerto Rico, Tax Transparency


Thanks to your support and partnership, we won our campaign for emergency food and housing assistance for people recovering from hurricane destruction in Puerto Rico.

Your support, e-mails and calls to Congress moved forward more than $8 billion in debt relief and disaster aid for Puerto Rico and billions more for Americans wrestling with disasters from California to Minnesota and Texas to Florida. 

Please join me and make a donation to Jubilee USA Network today so we can keep on winning. For the next week, your tax-deductible gift will be doubled.

Your gift means:

  • We can move forward debt and disaster relief for Puerto Rico. Already your efforts won $50 billion in aid and moved forward a super bankruptcy process for the island. Your gift means we can work to make sure debt relief means stopping austerity policies and winning the $70 billion in recovery aid Puerto Rico still needs.

  • Congress just introduced our legislation to combat financial secrecy and anonymous shell corporations. This type of "Panama Papers" secrecy facilitates the theft of debt relief aid, human trafficking and contributes to the loss of more than a trillion dollars of revenue in the developing world. With your support, we can get this legislation signed into law in the next year.

  • Working together, we moved the White House on eliminating harmful provisions in trade agreements that favor predatory debt collecting hedge funds and abusive corporations. Now as negotiations continue on a new NAFTA, your support means we can push for access to medicines for vulnerable populations and all who need life saving medicines.

  • When you make a contribution to Jubilee USA now, you further our efforts to address student debt and payday lending. Working together, we ensured certain types of student loans had low interest rates. When you donate to Jubilee USA now, it means our bipartisan work can build bridges to protect students and consumers.

Please make a contribution to Jubilee USA today so we can continue to move forward strategic campaigns. Your gifts are doubled and matched for the next week.

Summer is the most difficult time for fundraising and for us to sustain our work.

Your contributions are needed and so appreciated as we work to move the White House, Congress, the G20 and the IMF during these hot summer months.



Eric LeCompte
Executive Director


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G20 Leaders Wrestle with Trade, Climate and Financial Crisis

Jubilee USA Releases Statement on Japan Summit

Osaka, Japan - Leaders of the world's wealthiest economies gathered at the annual G20 Summit to discuss global policies on trade, climate, debt, tax and financial crisis prevention.

Eric LeCompte the Executive Director of the religious development group Jubilee USA, releases the following statement on the G20 Japan Summit:
"Trade tensions, climate change concerns and preventing global financial crisis dominated much of the Osaka Summit.

"There is great concern at the G20 meetings about debt crises and future financial crisis.

"The G20 was founded to prevent financial crisis and there is willingness to move forward global policies on debt sustainability and transparency. The question is whether or not we can achieve policies that move beyond voluntary crisis prevention and implement binding policies that will prevent future crisis.

"Combating financial secrecy and raising revenue in countries remained a key focus of the Japan meetings.

"Fundamentally, we need trade policies that protect workers and the vulnerable. We need to see shifts in the status quo on trade policies.

"Climate is a critical issue, especially as the G20 focused this meeting on ensuring that economies can be more resilient in the face of natural disasters. Economies that can be resilient in the face of disaster need debt policies that offer relief until recovery goals are met."


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Amidst Puerto Rico Financial Crisis, Island Religious Leaders Call for Global Debt and Transparency Policies

San Juan, Puerto Rico - Last week, Archbishop Roberto González—the leader of the Archdiocese of San Juan, the Secretary General of the Puerto Rico Bible Society—Reverend Heriberto Martínez and the island's Catholic Charities head, Reverend Enrique Camacho released a statement urging solidarity with countries wrestling with debt crisis and economic challenges.

“In hope and solidarity, we also stand with our friends across the developing world wrestling with debt crises and high child poverty rates. We support the proposals of our religious partners across the Caribbean calling for debt relief in the face of hurricanes and natural disasters," stated González, Martínez and Camacho in a statement released at the 500 year-old Cathedral of San Juan Bautista. "We stand with our global partners and the United Nations calling for debt relief, transparency, responsible lending and borrowing, anti-corruption efforts and the right to a global bankruptcy process that lifts the vulnerable."

Puerto Rico is mired in a $72 billion debt crisis and struggling to recover from 2017 Hurricanes Irma and Maria. In the statement, the religious leaders expressed concern over the island's debt crisis, pension protections and austerity policies in Puerto Rico.

“Puerto Rico continues to struggle with disaster recovery, debt crisis and child poverty and migration epidemics," noted Eric LeCompte, Executive Director of the religious development group Jubilee USA. "While Puerto Rico's religious leaders continue to confront the challenges facing their own people, they continue to express their wishes for global policy changes to lift vulnerable people in every corner of the world."

Read the full Puerto Rico religious leader statement in English

Read the full Puerto Rico religious leader statement in español

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The Alabama Political Reporter Features Jubilee USA's Puerto Rico Efforts

The Alabama Political Reporter quoted Executive Director Eric LeCompte following a joint press conference in San Juan, Puerto Rico yesterday. LeCompte and several religious leaders from the island released a statement addressing recent developments in the resolution of Puerto Rico’s crushing debt, specifically, a newly released deal to protect government pensions from being cut as a result of the efforts. Read an excerpt below, and click here for the full story.

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Puerto Rico Religious Leaders and Eric LeCompte Appear on Major Telemundo Television Segment

Jubilee USA Network Executive Director Eric LeCompte was featured in a June 14 Telemundo broadcast discussing recently decided Puerto Rican pension agreements. In a press conference, LeCompte and several faith leaders from the island praised the agreements as  positive step forward in addressing Puerto Rico’s unmanageable debt. Read an excerpt from the broadcast below, and follow this link to the full video.

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Archbishop, Evangelical Leader and Head of Catholic Charities Call for Puerto Rico Pension Protection and Debt and Disaster Relief

San Juan, Puerto Rico - Archbishop Roberto González, the Secretary General of the Puerto Rico Bible Society Reverend Heriberto Martínez and the island's Catholic Charities head, Reverend Enrique Camacho released a statement calling for support of pension agreements and debt and disaster relief for the island on Friday.

“This week as the oversight board met and workers voted on new pension proposals, we appreciate that the oversight board kept the promise to protect the pensions. We stand with labor leaders in urging the passage of pension plans that protect the vulnerable and protect the pensions of most of our people," stated González, Martínez and Camacho in a statement released at the Cathedral of San Juan Bautista.

The press conference held at one of the oldest Cathedrals in the Hemisphere, responded to new disaster relief authorized by President Trump, proposed pension agreements, meetings this week of Puerto Rico's oversight board and the court bankruptcy process. The head of the religious development group Jubilee USA, Eric LeCompte, joined the San Juan press conference along with Catholic, United Church of Christ, Lutheran and Disciple religious leaders from the United States.

"For the first time in any debt restructuring for a US city, territory or country, we are seeing pensions being protected," noted Jubilee USA Director and United Nations debt expert, Eric LeCompte. "While we are extremely pleased by the pension proposals, we also must see Puerto Rico's debt cut by at least 80 percent."

Puerto Rico is mired in a $72 billion debt crisis and struggling to recover from 2017 Hurricanes Irma and Maria. The major Puerto Rico religious leaders assert their ability to resolve disaster and debt crises are hampered by their relationship with the United States.

“Our ability for resiliency, recovery and resolving our own challenges is tied to our political and colonial status. We call on our people and our officials to begin a new and creative dialogue to resolve our political status," asserted González, Martínez and Camacho in their statement.

Read the full Puerto Rico religious leader statement in English

Read the full Puerto Rico religious leader statement in español

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