Puerto Rico, NAFTA - We need your help

Friends,

Our Congress calls and messages are positively impacting our Puerto Rico efforts for debt relief, disaster aid and child poverty reduction.

Because of your pressure and Jubilee USA meetings with the White House and with Congress, we moved the White House to now support the Nutrition Assistance Program for Puerto Rico. Because of our work together, Republican Senate legislation is now including our $600 million request for disaster food assistance for more than a million vulnerable people in Puerto Rico.

We need your support to pass the Senate legislation as soon as possible. Over a week ago, more than a million fellow Americans in Puerto Rico saw disaster food benefits cut. Your tax-deductible gift to Jubilee USA today will be doubled and double our impacts on winning disaster and debt relief for Puerto Rico. Your gift is vital now to win a new NAFTA deal that protects the vulnerable and win our current campaigns for financial transparency.

When we found out that a firm advising Puerto Rico's debt restructuring had a subsidiary firm that owned Puerto Rico debt, our messages to Congress successfully pushed the advisers of Puerto Rico's debt restructuring to disclose conflicts of interest.

Your gift really matters now as we push Congress and the White House to ensure that a new NAFTA deal protects the vulnerable and ensures that vulnerable people can get the medicine they need. Already, our trade campaign efforts secured commitments to stop "vulture funds" from using trade deals to collect on old bad debt.

When you join me and contribute to support Jubilee USA's vital 2019 campaigns, your gift will be matched and doubled. 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.

Over the last year, we won more than $50 billion in disaster aid for Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands. Working with Republican and Democratic leadership we secured the first ever "better building" provisions so the islands can rebuild to withstand future storms. Because of your multi-year support for debt relief for Puerto Rico, we stopped $8 billion dollars from reaching the hands of creditors and now the courts are reviewing a plan to cancel another $6 billion in debt. We stopped new vulture funds from sweeping in and buying debt cheap. We won the first super bankruptcy process that has the potential to deal with all of Puerto Rico's debt. We won a Puerto Rico process to reduce the 60% child poverty rate and audit the debt.

Unfortunately, some of the processes we won failed to move forward and we need to urgently move them forward.

We need to win another $70 billion in disaster aid and we need to be sure that Puerto Rico's quick moving bankruptcy process cuts enough debt and stops austerity. Predatory hedge funds and creditors are trying to stop Puerto Rico's bankruptcy process and legal challenges are heading to the Supreme Court.

Your tax-deductible donation is needed now for our efforts to move forward. Whether you donate $25, $100, $7, $500 or $250, your gift now is matched and doubles our impact.

I am so grateful for your partnership and support.

Eric LeCompte
Executive Director

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Puerto Rico Debt, Disaster Relief - Calls are Working

Friends, 

Thanks to your partnership, we've generated tens of thousands of messages to Congress on Puerto Rico. Because of our campaign efforts, we are moving forward debt relief, transparency and disaster aid for the US Territory.

A lot is happening and we need you to take action right away.

Because of our work together, we ensured that Puerto Rico's debt advisors need to disclose conflicts of interest. Because of our phone calls to Congress since December, the Senate is now including $600 million in Nutritional Assistance Program benefits for over million vulnerable people in Puerto Rico.

Now we need to move Congress to pass this vital disaster food assistance. On March 1, over a million fellow Americans in Puerto Rico saw their disaster food assistance cut. While we moved Republican Senate leadership to include the assistance in a new package - the Senate must hear from you right away to pass this emergency food assistance. Call the Senate now and tell them that Puerto Rico needs emergency food assistance funding and comprehensive and transparent debt relief.

You made this moment possible with your calls and messages to Congress. Your actions made a big difference and if we can continue to act, we will move Republicans and Democrats to create a Jubilee for Puerto Rico. If you've already made a call to Congress, it's urgent that you call and leave a message again.

Together, we won more than $50 billion in disaster aid for Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands. Working with Republican and Democratic leadership we secured the first ever "better building" provisions so the islands can rebuild to withstand the next storm. Because of your support for debt relief for Puerto Rico, we stopped $8 billion dollars from reaching the hands of creditors. We stopped new vulture funds from sweeping in and buying debt cheap. We won the first super bankruptcy process to deal with all debt since the 1953 process when Germany's debt was relieved. We won a process to reduce the 60% child poverty rate and audit the debt.

The progress only happened because of our partnership together and our push to Congress and the White House.

While we won a lot, we still have a lot to do. Some of the processes we won failed to move forward. We need to win another $70 billion in disaster aid and we need to be sure that Puerto Rico's bankruptcy process cuts enough debt and prevents austerity.

Please call your Senator now and ask them to pass disaster food assistance and support processes for transparent and sustainable debt cuts.

In recent weeks, Jubilee USA's Executive Director, Eric LeCompte, met with the White House and Republican and Democratic leadership to move forward our Puerto Rico efforts. Eric briefed leaders of Congress on the processes for disaster aid and debt relief. At every meeting, Republican and Democratic leaders told Eric we've only gotten this far because of Jubilee USA's efforts.

Republican and Democratic leaders also noted we can only win further debt and disaster relief for Puerto Rico with Jubilee USA's continued action.

Please take a moment and call your Senator so urgent food assistance can be passed and Puerto Rico's debt is cut to protect the vulnerable. You can leave a message 7 days a week and 24 hours a day. At this point, every call counts and makes a difference. 

Gratefully,

Kate Zeller
Campaigns Director

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Puerto Rico Debt Advisors Subject to Conflict Disclosure

Washington DC - After an investigation into potential conflicts of interest in Puerto Rico's debt restructuring, the island's oversight board notes it will increase disclosure requirements for advisors. The investigation began in response to a debt consultant whose affiliate company holds Puerto Rico debt.

"It's critical that any groups who are hired to advise on Puerto Rico's debt crisis disclose if they also own debt or have a conflict of interest," noted Jubilee USA Executive Director Eric LeCompte. LeCompte serves on United Nation debt expert groups and monitored Puerto Rico's debt crisis for the last 4 years. "US bankruptcy law already requires this type of disclosure and it should also be required for the Puerto Rico debt restructuring."

The 100-page investigation focused on the case of McKinsey and Company, hired to advise Puerto Rico's financial oversight board on the island's debt. The advisor's affiliate company MIO Partners owns Puerto Rico debt.

 

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Eric LeCompte's Thoughts Featured in Latin America Advisor

Eric LeCompte, Executive Director of Jubilee USA, recently spoke with the Latin America Advisor about the recent COFINA debt deal on Puerto Rico debt. Read an excerpt below and follow this link to the full article.

Does Puerto Rico’s Bond Restructuring Offer a Fresh Start?

Eric LeCompte, executive director of Jubilee USA Network: “Before Puerto Rico was hit by two hurricanes in 2017, the oversight board and the governor were reviewing plans to cut total debt payments by as much as 80 percent. After the hurricanes, Puerto Rico saw temporary economic growth due to disaster aid and rebuilding efforts. Part of the problem with the Cofina deal is that it seems to be based on rosy economic estimates from temporary post-hurricane growth. They are also basing Puerto Rico’s ability to repay on the assumption that Congress and the White House will approve more significant disaster aid. This is in doubt. We are worried that not enough debt is being cut and that Puerto Rico’s people are carrying heavy austerity burdens. Nearly six out of 10 kids live in poverty in Puerto Rico. The math isn’t adding up. If plans to restructure the remaining debt fail to cut the majority of the island’s debt load, Puerto Rico won’t see sustained economic recovery
and growth. If future debt deals don’t cut enough debt, the economy will not be able to recover and will continue to contract until another debt restructuring has to take place. I am worried that this type of plan will mean Puerto Rico will be trapped in an endless cycle of debt.”

Read more here

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Nonprofit Quarterly Cites Eric LeCompte on Puerto Rico Debt

Eric LeCompte, Executive Director of Jubilee USA, recently spoke with the Nonprofit Quarterly about the recent COFINA debt deal on Puerto Rico debt. Read an excerpt below and follow this link to the full article.

Puerto Rico Finalizes First Debt Restructuring, but at a High Cost

Still, debt remains a major obstacle to recovery. Eric LeCompte, who directs Jubilee USA, a network of community and faith-based organizations, tells Bradford that, “The math isn’t adding up. If plans to restructure the remaining debt fail to cut the majority of the island’s debt load, Puerto Rico can’t see sustained economic recovery and growth.”

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Pensions & Investments Quotes Jubilee USA Director on Puerto Rico Debt Deal

Eric LeCompte, Executive Director of Jubilee USA, recently spoke with the Pensions & Investments about the recent COFINA debt deal on Puerto Rico debt. Read an excerpt below and follow this link to the full article.

First Puerto Rico debt restructuring deal approved for COFINA

Civil rights, faith-based, labor and advocacy organizations are pressing for more debt-reduction agreements. "The math isn't adding up. If plans to restructure the remaining debt fail to cut the majority of the island's debt load, Puerto Rico can't see sustained economic recovery and growth," said Eric LeCompte, executive director of Jubilee USA, a network of community organizations and faith communities.

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Puerto Rico Debt Deal Receives Court Approval

Washington DC - Judge Laura Taylor Swain approved a deal to restructure $17 billion of Puerto Rico's $72 billion debt on Monday. Court approval was the last hurdle creditors and the island's oversight board needed for a plan to address sales tax backed debt or "COFINA" debt.

"We are worried that not enough debt is being cut and that Puerto Rico's people are carrying heavy austerity burdens," said Jubilee USA Executive Director Eric LeCompte, who monitors Puerto Rico's debt. "The math isn't adding up. If plans to restructure the remaining debt fail to cut the majority of the island's debt load, Puerto Rico can't see sustained economic recovery and growth."

The ruling followed two days of hearings and weeks of deliberation. In Swain's "COFINA" ruling, she notes objections to the debt plan, such as sustainability and the lack of a complete debt audit.

"Nearly six out of ten kids live in poverty in Puerto Rico and if future debt deals don't cut enough debt, we won't address the child poverty epidemic on the island," noted LeCompte, who serves on United Nation finance expert groups.

 

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Eric LeCompte Talks to El Nuevo Dia about Puerto Rico

Eric LeCompte, Executive Director of Jubilee USA, recently spoke with the El Nuevo Dia about the recent COFINA debt deal on Puerto Rico debt. Read an excerpt below and follow this link to the full article.

Grupos cívicos alarmados con la aprobación del acuerdo de Cofina

"Nos preocupa que no se reduzca suficiente dueda y que la gente de Puerto Rico, como consecuencia, cargue con un alto peso de austeridad", indicó el director ejectivo de Jubilee USA, Eric LeCompte. 

Para Jubilee USA, una coalición religiosa que ha estudiado el tema de la deuda pública puertorriqueña y otros países, si no se logra reducir "la mayor parte de la carga de la deuda de la isla, Puerto Rico no puede ver una recuperación económica sostenida."

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Judge Delays Ruling on Puerto Rico Debt Deal

White House Opposes Island's Food Assistance Funding

Washington DC - On Thursday, Judge Laura Taylor Swain delayed approval of a $17 billion debt deal between Puerto Rico "COFINA" creditors and the island's oversight board. Citing concerns that her ruling could alter Puerto Rico's constitution, the judge requested additional materials to review on Monday from the federally appointed oversight board.

"We are concerned that the plan under consideration doesn't cut enough debt," said Eric LeCompte who heads Jubilee USA and has monitored the island's financial situation since 2015. "I am worried that this type of plan will mean Puerto Rico will be trapped in an endless cycle of debt."

In court, opponents of the debt plan requested that Swain further delay any decision until the Internal Revenue Service can review the tax status of new bonds that are a part of the deal. The IRS can not currently assess the bonds because their doors are shuttered during the US Government partial shutdown.

Swain is also considering canceling another $6 billion of Puerto Rico's debt that the fiscal oversight board argues violated constitutional debt limits. 

"Puerto Rico debt from 2012 and 2014 bonds should be voided as the island had already exceeded it's legal debt limit," said LeCompte who serves on United Nation finance expert groups. "The island wrestles with a 60% child poverty rate and is still recovering from the hurricanes. Debt needs to be cut for both legal reasons and moral reasons."

As the Puerto Rico bankruptcy process continues, the government shutdown is slowing a budget decision on $600 million dollars in food aid for poor families in the US Territory. On Thursday, the White House wrote Congress opposing funding for Puerto Rico's Nutrition Assistance Program (NAP) that aids more than a million people on the island. The House of Representatives approved NAP funding in their version of the budget, now stalled during the shutdown.

"Access to food for poor families should not be used as a political bargaining chip in the budget shutdown negotiations," said LeCompte. "Puerto Rico is trapped in debt and rebuilding from hurricanes. Cutting food subsidies to the poor is just inhumane."

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El Nuevo Dia Highlights Eric LeCompte's Puerto Rico Views

Eric LeCompte, Executive Director of Jubilee USA, recently spoke with the El Nuevo Dia about the effect of the shutdown on Puerto Rico. Read an excerpt below and follow this link to the full article.

Pelosi rechaza la “crueldad” de querer bloquear fondos a la isla

“El acceso a los alimentos para las familias pobres no debe ser utilizado como un instrumento de negociación política en las negociaciones presupuestarias y el cierre parcial del gobierno federal. Puerto Rico está atrapado en deuda y en la reconstrucción después del impacto de huracanes. Cortar los subsidios alimentarios a los pobres es simplemente inhumano", indicó, por su parte, Eric LeCompte, director ejecutivo de la red Jubilee USA.

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