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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Puerto Rico Bankruptcy Judge Reviews Debt Deal

Oversight Board Files for $6 Billion Debt Cancellation 

Washington DC - Through Thursday, the judge presiding over Puerto Rico's bankruptcy process will hear testimony about a debt deal to restructure about $17 billion of the island's $72 billion debt. The Honorable Judge Laura Taylor Swain is administering the island's Title III process, a debt restructuring process created by Congress in 2016. This week Swain is hearing testimony from stakeholders of the merits of a debt deal that Puerto Rico's COFINA creditors and oversight board agreed on. Critics of the plan argue that if the debt deal is approved, it sets up Puerto Rico for failure.

"The current agreement doesn't do enough to support sustained economic growth, reduce austerity or ensure that Puerto Rico rebuilds from last year's hurricanes," said Jubilee USA Executive Director Eric LeCompte who monitored the island's debt woes since 2015. "If this is the recipe to restructure Puerto Rico's debt, Puerto Rico will be back at the restructuring table in a few years."

This week Puerto Rico's oversight board filed a request to cancel debt to Judge Swain. $6 billion in General Obligation bond debt from 2012 and 2014 exceeded set Puerto Rico constitutional debt limits, according to the court filing.

"The move to cancel this debt is important. It should be declared null and void," stated LeCompte. "The debt violated debt limits and some hedge funds were looking to exploit this debt."

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2019 Goals, Double Our 2019 Impact

Friends, 

Thanks to your partnership, Jubilee USA Network effectively moves Congress, the White House, the G7/G20, the United Nations, the IMF and World Bank to enact policies that reduce poverty, address inequality and promote solutions to financial crisis.

Your gift to Jubilee USA is needed to move forward our 2019 goals. Your donation is doubled now and is tax-deductible. Please join me and make a gift that tackles the root causes of poverty.

Our debt, tax, transparency and trade efforts protect the vulnerable and our planet. With your support our Jubilee USA campaigns: 

  • Will win debt and austerity relief for Puerto Rico and Caribbean islands wrestling with financial crisis. Our disaster-triggered debt relief processes will also gain momentum
  • In the new NAFTA, will gain more ground on stopping vulture funds, settling trade disputes in favor of vulnerable communities and ensuring people can access life-saving medicines
  • Will win the remaining hurricane relief for Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands. We have another $80 billion to win on top of the $50 billion we already won this year
  • Will prevent corruption from oil and extractive industries by implementing new reporting rules that will stop bribery, protect debt relief and curb tax evasion in the developing world
  • Can pass rules to stop tax evasion, corporate tax avoidance, corruption and anonymous shell companies
  • At the G20 and the IMF, can move forward the implementation of new global responsible lending and borrowing rules
  • Continue to protect transparency rules in Dodd-Frank and protect the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau from attacks
  • Raise the alarm and push solutions on the growing debt crises in Africa, the Caribbean, Asia and Latin America.

Whether your gift is $25, $5 or $500, it is needed and can accomplish a lot in the year to come.

In 2017 and 2018, we moved the Administration on global responsible lending, we launched a new website, started the Puerto Rico bankruptcy process and moved Congress and the White House on $46 billion in Puerto Rico and USVI relief aid (a third of what we are continuing our efforts to win).

Because we work closely with Republican and Democratic leadership, we strategically secured "better building" provisions so Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands can rebuild to withstand future storms. We successfully moved $4.9 billion of Medicaid funding for Puerto Rico and we moved Congress to remove unfair excise taxes on the island.

Thanks to your support in the last year:

  • We’ve successfully launched more initiatives, projects and campaigns than we have started over the last 5 years
  • We convened major meetings with over 60 Ambassadors and heads of state on our efforts
  • We’ve reestablished relationships with all levels of the White House, Treasury and Republican and Democratic leadership
  • Our efforts continue to receive news coverage in tens of thousands of news outlets in every corner of the world on our tax, trade, debt and transparency work
  • We've seen the largest increase in new member and partner organizations that we've seen for years at Jubilee USA. Our new Muslim, Jewish and Christian partners continue to grow
  • Partnering with the Vatican, we are moving forward major interfaith global events on building an economy that serves, protects and promotes the participation of the vulnerable
  • In March of 2018 we launched a campaign that can change how the global financial system treats countries, states and territories wrestling with financial crisis, debt and austerity. We are doing this by changing the New York laws that govern most of the world's debt
  • In May we launched our campaign to secure medicine access for vulnerable populations in trade agreements. We did this with the full partnership and leadership of Reform Jews and the Catholic, Presbyterian, Lutheran, Episcopalian, Methodist and United Church of Christ Churches
  • Our efforts continue to curb tax evasion, corruption and “illicit financial flows." We are releasing analysis on human trafficking and anonymous shell companies. We'll pass global transparency measures in Congress
  • We are protecting Section 1504 of the “Cardin-Lugar” amendment that requires US oil and extractive industries to report financial operational data in countries where they operate
  • Our daily work continues on payday lending, student debt and bank protections under Dodd-Frank and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau
  • Last Fall, hurricanes ravaged islands across the Caribbean. Jubilee USA sprang into action establishing a campaign to create a new global process to support debt relief processes for islands when they are affected by natural disasters or hurricanes. Because of consistent campaigning, in April the IMF and United Nations Financing for Development Forum discussed our proposal. In May our proposal was discussed at the G7 and we are moving it forward
  • Within our current budget, we moved to the United Methodist Building and our office space is directly across from the US Capitol. Our new space is larger, more professional and an even better site for convening our efforts.

Your support makes all of our work possible. With a few hundred thousand dollars, we win billions. Please join me and make a generous gift today. Your contribution is really needed, is tax-deductible and will be matched.

Gratefully,

Eric

Eric LeCompte
Executive Director

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Jubilee in the News--A Year of Progress

Friends, 

From The Wall Street Journal to The Hill, Catholic News Service to The Washington Post, and in newspapers from Indonesia to your local newspaper, your support puts media spotlight on the impacts economic policies have on the vulnerable. This year tens of thousands of newspapers, television and radio shows covered Jubilee USA's efforts.

See some of the coverage of Jubilee USA's work below. 

Happy Holidays,

Kate

Kate Zeller
Campaigns Director

JUBILEE IN THE NEWS


The IMF, World Bank, Africa Debt and Financial Crisis
The Wall Street Journal (Oct 11)
Global Capital (Oct 15)
New Telegraph (Oct 10)
The Daily Trust (Oct 10)
Sahara Reporters (Oct 10)
BBC World New Live (Oct 10)
Leadership (Oct 9)
The Nation (Oct 9)
Ghana Business News (Sept 5)
ValueWalk (May 17) 
All Africa (Apr 23) 


Small Island Crisis, Caribbean Debt Relief and Hurricane Aid
National Catholic Reporter (Nov 20)
America (Oct 9)
Devex (May 3) 
ValueWalk (April 25)
Bretton Woods Project (April 19)
InDepthNews IDN (Mar 18)
Common Dreams (Mar 16) 


Illicit Financial Flows, Tax Evasion and Transparency
Catholic Profiles (Dec 7)
BBC World New Live (Oct 10)
Ghana Business News (Sept 13)
Common Dreams (Aug 3)
Catholic News Service (May 31)
National Catholic Reporter (May 18)
Bretton Woods Project (April 19)
Common Dreams (Mar 9)


Student Debt
Common Dreams (Dec 7)


Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands
National Catholic Reporter (Nov 20)
The Wall Street Journal (Oct 4) 
Aleteia (Oct 1) 
Bloomberg (Sept 28)
America (Sept 20)
Politico (June 8)
The Bond Buyer (May 31)
ValueWalk (May 17) 
The Hill (April 19)
Bloomberg (April 19)
Metro Puerto Rico (April 18)
National Catholic Reporter (April 16)
ValueWalk (April 2)
Brietbart (March 31)
The Wall Street Journal (March 15)
The Bond Buyer (March 7)
The Intercept (Feb 21)
America (Feb 12)
El Nuevo Dia (Feb 7)
The World Week (Jan 10)
The Tablet (Jan 2)


Vatican Statement on Debt, Tax and Financial Crisis
Catholic News Service (May 31)
National Catholic Reporter (May 18)


NAFTA, Trade, Development and Access to Medicine
America (May 23)
Crux (May 22) 
Catholic News Service (May 22)
NAFTA: Interfaith Statement on Trade and Access to Medicines (May 18)
National Catholic Reporter (May 18)


And more…
Catholic Profiles (Dec 7)
The Wall Street Journal (Oct 11)
Koran Jakarta (Oct 11)
America (Oct 9)
Nearshore Americas (Sept 27)
The National (Sept 17) 
ValueWalk (Jan 4)

 

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Jubilee USA Urges Congress to Pass Puerto Rico Aid and Debt Relief Protections

Washington DC - As Democrats and Republicans head toward a budget showdown this week, several Puerto Rico amendments could be added to budget bills. More than a million US citizens in Puerto Rico could lose food assistance benefits if Congress does not authorize an additional $600 million for the Nutritional Assistance Program (NAP).

"Before Congress goes on recess, Congress must approve funding so that poor kids, the elderly, disabled and the most vulnerable can access food in Puerto Rico," stated Jubilee USA Executive Director Eric LeCompte. On Monday, LeCompte's organization rallied more than 20,000 of its members to urge Congress to pass the NAP funding before year-end.

260,000 people will lose benefits and more than a million people will see their benefits cut if Congress does not take action this week.

Over the last year, Jubilee USA worked with Congress and federal agencies to secure more than $45 billion in rebuilding aid for Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands. The religious development group worked closely with Republican and Democratic leadership to secure "better building" provisions so that Puerto Rico can rebuild to withstand future storms. According to estimates from Puerto Rico's Governor and oversight board, another $80 billion is needed to fully fund recovery efforts.

"In the coming days and months, Congress needs to fully fund the rebuilding needs of Puerto Rico," stated LeCompte. "We need to see action from Congress that provides transparency disclosures so we know when creditors are advising debt negotiations. We also need to prevent creditors collecting hurricane relief monies."

Debt negotiations in Puerto Rico received recent scrutiny because a subsidiary of a firm who owns Puerto Rico debt is advising debt deals. Puerto Rico religious leaders and finance experts also raised concerns that debt holders are trying to collect hurricane relief monies.

Read Jubilee USA's action alert to Congress

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Call Congress: Urgent Puerto Rico Action

Friends, 

Thanks to your actions, we've moved Congress consistently on Puerto Rico over the last three years. Jubilee USA successfully focused on cutting Puerto Rico's debt, preventing austerity, securing monies to protect the vulnerable and winning hurricane rebuilding aid.

Before Congress goes on recess Friday, Congress will decide the fate of 260,000 vulnerable US citizens living in Puerto Rico who rely on the Nutritional Assistance Program or NAP. The 260,000 low income people will lose their benefits and another million people in Puerto Rico will see their benefits cut.

Please call Congress now and urge that they fund the Nutritional Assistance Program to protect poor children, the elderly and disabled. Tell Congress to fund disaster assistance and support a transparent debt restructuring that reduces child poverty.

Your efforts so far have won more than $45 billion in rebuilding aid for Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands. Our work over the next year is critical as we work to secure another $80 billion in funds needed for rebuilding. Because of Jubilee USA's work with Republican and Democratic leadership, we secured "Better Building" provisions so that Puerto Rico can rebuild to withstand future storms.

In the weeks to come our work together is critical as we move forward a debt restructuring in Puerto Rico that is transparent, prevents austerity, reduces austerity and ensures that Puerto Rico can have a sustainable economy.

As you receive this, the US Government is preparing letters for 260,000 people in Puerto Rico telling them that during the holidays, their food assistance monies will be cut. Another million people will see their food benefits cut. We can stop this additional austerity now. Call Congress now and tell them to fund NAP for the US citizens living in Puerto Rico.

On Friday, Congress goes home for the holidays. If we act now, we can make sure that many of our friends in Puerto Rico have a brighter holiday season.

Thanks for taking action.

Gratefully,

Kate 

Kate Zeller
Campaigns Director

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End of Year Report 2018

Friends, 

I am so grateful for your partnership. Together we continue to address the root causes of poverty, inequality, war, terrorism and migration.

When you read our 2018 year-end report, you'll read how we exceeded expectations in a challenging political environment. You'll see how we won new US and global debt, tax, trade and transparency policies that address the root causes of migration and poverty.

Remarkably, our efforts from Puerto Rico to NAFTA to the International Monetary Fund were covered in tens of thousands of news outlets. The Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg, global television and your local newspaper covered our thoughts and work.

Major funders, partners and journalists all tell me they think our annual budget is in the millions. They are floored when they learn that our policy, organizing and media impact happens on a budget of a few hundred thousand. It's why every gift really, really matters for us. 

Together over the last year we launched 5 new campaigns and we won 6 major victories. In our 2018 year-end report, you learn how we won more than $45 billion in rebuilding aid for Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands.   

Because of our strategic efforts together, we moved Republicans and Democrats to ensure that Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands can rebuild to withstand future storms. 

In the new NAFTA, we stopped “vulture funds” from collecting on old debt and organized major religious institutions to demand that all people should be able to access life-saving medicine. After years of pressure, we moved the IMF to acknowledge the new debt crisis in Africa and the importance of preventing the next global financial crisis.

In our 2018 year-end report, you'll see why a gift really matters.

When you read our 2018 year-end report you'll see how we are one of few organizations that will move the White House, Congress, G-20, IMF and United Nations in 2019. You'll read in our comprehensive year-end report that we are poised to address the root causes of migration, poverty, terrorism, war and inequality in the year to come.

We are so grateful for your support.

Gratefully,

Eric


Eric LeCompte
Executive Director

Twitter: @Eric_LeCompte

P.s. Please join me and make a tax-deductible gift to Jubilee USA today. Whether that gift is $5, $25 or $250 it goes a very very long way on our little budget.



 
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Fed Says College Students Have More Debt than Previous Generations

Washington DC - A study released from the Federal Reserve Board notes that 70 percent of college students are graduating with more than $37,000 in debt.

"Student loan debt has reached crisis levels," noted Eric LeCompte who heads the religious debt watchdog, Jubilee USA Network. "Current graduates are carrying higher debts than any previous generation."

The Federal Reserve Board study found that college student debt levels in 2017 were twice as high as student debt in 2004.

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