Congress, White House Move Disaster Relief for Puerto Rico, US States and Territories

Washington, DC - On Thursday, the Senate passed a $19.1 billion disaster relief plan to aid Americans recovering from natural disasters in US Territories like Puerto Rico and States including Iowa. The House of Representatives and the White House are expected to approve the Senate plan.

"Millions of Americans are suffering and this disaster relief plan is urgently needed. We applaud Senate leaders and the White House for agreeing on a disaster deal," noted Eric LeCompte who leads the religious development group Jubilee USA. "In Puerto Rico alone, more than a million Americans lost disaster food assistance in March and that aid is finally restored."

The $19 billion disaster package includes nearly a billion dollars of disaster aid for Puerto Rico. The Senate package includes $600 million in disaster food assistance for more than 1.3 million people in Puerto Rico. Another $300 million will support housing rebuilding funds for Puerto Rico. The agreement expedites allocation of $8.9 billion in monies Congress already passed for Puerto Rico. Less than $15 billion of the $50 billion Congress approved for Puerto Rico reached the island to date.

The disaster package aids Americans in a number of US States and Territories recovering from hurricanes, floods, wildfires and other natural disasters. Puerto Rico, the Northern Mariana Islands, Guam, American Samoa, California, Florida, Iowa, Nebraska, Missouri, North Carolina, South Carolina, Alabama, Georgia and Kansas will benefit from the package.

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Senate Puerto Rico Vote Today, Call Senators Now


Because of our advocacy, Senate leadership agreed on a deal for disaster relief for Puerto Rico and other US States and Territories recovering from disaster. The Senate will vote on the disaster deal today!

Your phone calls, petitions and pressure on Congress is working and won a bipartisan compromise on disaster aid.

Now we need you to take two minutes to act.

We moved Senate Republican and Democrat leaders to agree on a $19 billion plan that includes about a billion in relief for Puerto Rico. It takes just two minutes to call your Senators and ask them to vote for debt and disaster relief for Puerto Rico. If you've already called - please call again as the Senate votes today.

If we can pass this legislation in the Senate, because of Jubilee USA's work, we expect the House to support it and President Trump to sign the disaster package into law.

The legislation will include $600 million in disaster food assistance to benefit more than 1.3 million people in Puerto Rico. Another $300 million will support housing rebuilding funds for Puerto Rico. Perhaps most importantly - we have an agreement to expedite the allocation of $8.9 billion of monies Congress already passed for Puerto Rico.

In addition to today's Senate vote, your call to Congress now is especially important as the next phase of Puerto Rico's debt relief will be decided in June. Please make a call to the Senate now. Urge your community, family and friends to make a call for Puerto Rico.

Since 2014, Jubilee USA focused on Puerto Rico. In 2015, we began work with our partners on the island who led the call for relieving debt, eliminating child poverty and stopping austerity. Jubilee USA members, congregations and faith communities generated tens of thousands of messages to Congress since Hurricanes Maria and Irma decimated Puerto Rico. Together, we've won $50 billion in relief aid for Puerto Rico, we've moved forward a debt relief process and united Republicans and Democrats to agree that Puerto Rico needs to rebuild to withstand future storms.

Less than $15 billion of what we've won reached Puerto Rico. Your call to your Senators today helps distribute the relief we've won as we work to win another $70 billion in rebuilding funds for Puerto Rico.

Together we've achieved so much. Your call to your Senators today will make it possible for us to win more.



Kate Zeller
Campaigns Director

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Houses Passes Disaster Aid Package for Puerto Rico, US States and Territories

Washington DC - On Friday, the House of Representatives passed disaster relief legislation to benefit US States, Territories and municipalities recovering from wildfires, floods and hurricanes. Senate legislation remains on hold as the White House and Senate debate the need for disaster funding to be included for Puerto Rico in a Senate package.

"The Senate needs to stop debating relief aid for Puerto Rico and pass a disaster package that ensures all Americans, no matter where they live, can access needed recovery funds," noted Eric LeCompte who leads the religious development group Jubilee USA. "Republicans and Democrats joined together in the House to pass disaster aid for all Americans and now the Senate needs to follow the House's example."

The House disaster package passed 257-150 and included support from thirty-four Republicans who broke ranks with the President and voted for the aid bill. More than $19 billion dollars is included in the House legislation to benefit Americans suffering from natural disasters or impacted by the US-China trade war.

"The political games in the Senate need to stop and the recovery aid needs to be delivered," said LeCompte. "While the Senate debates aid, US citizens from California to Puerto Rico are suffering."

Before Hurricanes Maria and Irma decimated Puerto Rico in 2017, the island was dealing with a $72 billion debt crisis. Last week, Puerto Rico's federally installed oversight board filed a court petition to declare $9 billion in debt "unconstitutional" or debt that should not be paid because it is not legitimate.

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Jubilee's Work Featured in the National Catholic Reporter

Jubilee USA was recently featured by The National Catholic Reporter on Jubilee's efforts in Puerto Rico's debt and humanitarian crisis as well as Jubilee's partnership with religious leaders on the island. Read an excerpt below and follow this link to the full article.

The suffering of Puerto Rican people continues to mount

May 8 would have been my mother's 91st birthday. I visited her grave and said a prayer. The day also marked another anniversary: It was the 20th anniversary of the installation of Archbishop Roberto Gonzalez as the Archbishop of San Juan. Gonzalez has, along with Fr. Heriberto Martinez, been at the forefront of the fight for debt relief for the island. They have been assisted most ably by Eric LeCompte and the good people at Jubilee USA. LeCompte knows more about public debt in poor countries than anyone I know, and what is more, he knows how to build a consensus on Capitol Hill for action to relieve debt burdens. He is one of the angels in the public policy world. Congratulations to Gonzalez on his anniversary and, even more, to the Catholic people of San Juan who have such a courageous spiritual leader.

Read more here


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Puerto Rico, Call Congress Now


Today on Capitol Hill, Jubilee USA is joining national partners to move urgent disaster aid and relief for Puerto Rico and numerous US States and Territories.

Working with the Hispanic Federation, Feeding America, American Farm Bureau Federation, Corporación ENLACE del Caño Martín Peña, Coalition on Human Needs, Oxfam America, Sierra Club, Bread for the World and Coalition for Food Security - in Puerto Rico, we are urging Congress to pass a full disaster package right away.

Jubilee USA members, congregations and faith communities have generated tens of thousands of messages to Congress. Together, we've won $50 billion in relief aid for Puerto Rico, we've moved forward a debt relief process and united Republicans and Democrats to agree that Puerto Rico needs to rebuild to withstand future storms.
Still - we need to win another $70 billion in rebuilding funds, we need to make sure that enough debt is cut and we need to restore emergency food aid benefits for over a million US citizens living in Puerto Rico.

Please make a call to the Senate now. Urge your community, family and friends to make a call for Puerto Rico. Momentum is on our side and your call for debt and disaster relief can make a big difference now.


Eric LeCompte
Executive Director
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Senator Lugar Jubilee USA Statement

Washington DC - On Sunday, former Indiana Senator Richard Lugar (R) died. Lugar sponsored and led Jubilee USA legislation and efforts on debt relief, anti-corruption, preventing financial crisis, tax evasion and the Jubilee Act on responsible lending and borrowing.

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

"Senator Lugar was a bridge builder and defender of the vulnerable.

"Lugar was a leader of legislation to prevent financial crisis, provide debt relief for poor countries and make our financial system more responsible and transparent.

"Currently in Congress we face such polarization and so many divides. In Washington DC, we need his kind of leadership again."

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May 1st 4 Puerto Rico, Mozambique and NAFTA

Friends -

I wanted to alert you that on May 1st, Jubilee USA is co-sponsoring a major advocacy effort with national partners and hundreds of activists for Congress to fully fund disaster relief for Puerto Rico, US States and Territories.

Puerto Rico's disaster relief is intrinsically tied to its need for debt relief. I hope on Wednesday you'll join Jubilee USA's national Call Congress Day for Puerto Rico. Please look for our Wednesday action alert.

Also on Wednesday, May 1st, our matching donation funds expire. Will you please join me and contribute to support Jubilee USA's vital 2019 campaigns by May 1st so your gift can be matched and doubled?

If you make a monthly, recurring gift your donation will be tripled for the entire year!

Your support is vital now and moves mountains. Your support made it possible for us to push the White House and the US Justice Department to prosecute Mozambique lenders and corrupt government officials who agreed on secret loans to turn fishing boats into military attack crafts.

On Friday, as Category-4 Cyclone Kenneth hit Mozambique we renewed our call for debt relief and public budget transparency for the East African nation.

Your gifts allow us to move forward advocacy for a new NAFTA agreement that protects the vulnerable, stops predatory debt collection and moves forward access to medicines for all of us. Your support means we can move forward bipartisan legislation to stop tax evasion and corruption - legislation that can keep dictators from stealing debt relief monies and prevent the financing of human trafficking.

In a tough political environment, your gift makes it possible for us to move forward trade deals, debt deals and corporate transparency legislation that lifts and protects the vulnerable. You tax-deductible donation today will be matched and doubled. If you make a recurring, monthly donation by May 1st, your gift will be tripled for the year.

Thanks for your partnership,

Eric LeCompte
Executive Director

Twitter: @Eric_LeCompte


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Second Deadly Cyclone Hits Mozambique

Religious Development Group Calls for Debt and Disaster Relief

Washington DC - Category-4 Cyclone Kenneth hit Mozambique Thursday night, the second severe storm to hit the country in six weeks. According to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, 30,000 people were evacuated because of Cyclone Kenneth and another 70,000 people are still in harm's way. The hurricane-strength storm is predicted to drop twice as much rainfall as Cyclone Idai, which devastated the East African nation in March. Mozambique is still recovering from Cyclone Idai and the International Monetary Fund loaned $118.2 million for Idai rebuilding efforts.

"It's time to move away from loans for Mozambique and start the process of debt relief," said United Nations debt expert Eric LeCompte who heads the religious development group Jubilee USA. "This cyclone was the first major storm to hit Mozambique with hurricane strength in 60 years and as one of the poorest countries in the world, they don't have the resources to respond."

The United Nations Development Programme ranks Mozambique as the 9th least developed country in the world out of 189 ranked countries. On March 14th and 15th Cyclone Idai made landfall, killing over 700 people and causing an estimated $2 billion in damage.

In 2016 the IMF stopped financing Mozambique after over $1 billion in secret loans were discovered to outfit fishing boats into military crafts.

"Debt relief is an effective form of disaster aid and must be an important part of Mozambique's recovery," said LeCompte.

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Yom Tov, a Promise, Chag Pesach Samech

Dear Friends,

As Yom Tov approaches, from my family to yours, from the community of Jubilee USA to your community - may I wish you - chag Pesach samech.

May the sea part for us, may we hear tambourines and drums as we continue, together, the long journey that ends at the land of promise, joy and freedom.

Wishing you and your loved ones every blessing,


Eric LeCompte
Executive Director
Jubilee USA Network

Twitter: @Eric_LeCompte
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ValueWalk Features Eric LeCompte's Thoughts on IMF Analysis

Eric LeCompte, Executive Director of Jubilee USA, recently spoke with ValueWalk about the policy challenges faced in achieving the sustainable development goals. Read an excerpt below and follow this link to the full article.

As Jamie Dimon Says Lehman Won’t Happen Again, IMF Analysis Points To Next Global Financial Crisis

“Developing countries are wrestling with crisis,” UN sovereign debt analyst and Executive Director of Jubliee USA Eric LeCompte told ValueWalk, pointing to a virus that could quickly spread to the developed world. “There is more than one canary in this coal mine.”

The IMF has released a series of reports on unsustainable debt levels in developing economies that it says makes the global environment “unsettled.”

LeCompte notes that even with a relatively strong global economy, many developing nations are finding trouble with GDP to debt levels above 100% and 17 countries are in default. He was moderating an IMF panel discussion on the topic when unknown derivatives risk exposures tied to the debt was raised as an issue that could derail the economy, calling it “the scariest IMF meeting I’ve ever attended.”

The debt crisis is now engulfing 40% of low-income nations with the IMF concerned of rising debt levels in African nations that is even starting to impact wealthy regions such as Kenya and South Africa.  What also concerns LeCompte is how the debt problem is spreading in Latin America, right on the doorstep of the US. Brazil, El Salvador, Venezuela and Argentina are all showing signs of cracking under a mountain of debt. According to LeCompte,  three Latin American countries are beyond 70% debt to GDP.

Argentina, which lost a debt fight with hedge funds led in part by Paul Singer’s Elliott Management, is particularly hard hit. Investors are now pricing in a 49% chance of default, up from 22% a year ago, according to credit-default swaps pricing.

“In Argentina, public money (from the IMF) is bailing out hedge funds,” LeCompte quipped, noting that solutions for another global debt crisis have not been put in place.

Read more here

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