The easiest way to email your members of CongressDonate Now
H.R.2634 - Jubilee Act for Responsible Lending and Expanded Debt Cancellation of 2008
To provide for greater responsibility in lending and expanded cancellation of debts owed to the United States and the international financial institutions by low-income countries, and for other purposes.
|Version||Word Count||Changes From Previous Version||Percent Change|
|Introduced in House||3,329||n/a||n/a|
|Reported in House||3,684||58||37%|
|Engrossed in House||3,528||26||24%|
|Referred in Senate||3,500||5 Show Changes Hide Changes||2%|
Key: changed or removed text inserted or modified text
Loading Bill Text
Rollover any line of text to comment and/or link to it.
April 24, 2008
To provide for greater responsibility in lending and expanded cancellation of debts owed to the United States and the international financial institutions by low-income countries, and for other purposes.CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.
SEC. 2. FINDINGS.
(2) Since 1996, when the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries Initiative (HIPC) was created, more than 30 nations have seen some form of debt relief totaling approximately $80,000,000,000.CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
(3) Congress has demonstrated its support for bilateral and multilateral debt relief through the enactment of comprehensive debt relief initiatives for heavily indebted low-income countries in--CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
(A) title V of H.R. 3425 of the 106th Congress, as enacted into law by section 1000(a)(5) of the Act entitled `An Act making consolidated appropriations for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2000, and for other purposes', approved November 29, 1999 (
(B) title II of H.R. 5526 of the 106th Congress, as enacted into law by section 101(a) of the Act entitled `An Act making appropriations for foreign operations, export financing, and related programs for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2001, and for other purposes', approved November 6, 2000 (
(C) title V of the United States Leadership Against HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria Act of 2003 (
(4) In 2005, the United States and other G-8 nations reached an agreement to provide cancellation of 100 percent of the debts owed by eligible poor nations to Paris Club members, the IMF, the World Bank, and the African Development Bank. The Inter-American Development Bank reached an agreement in early 2007 to provide similar treatment.CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
(5) The 2005 agreement led to the creation of the Multilateral Debt Relief Initiative (MDRI). As of April 2007, 22 nations have seen the majority of their debts to the IMF, World Bank, and African Development Bank cancelled under the terms of the MDRI. In March 2007, the Inter-American Development Bank announced it would provide full debt cancellation to 5 Latin American countries on MDRI terms.CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
(6) Resources released by debt relief efforts to date are reaching the poor. Cameroon is using the $29,800,000 of savings it will gain from the MDRI in 2006 for national poverty reduction priorities, including infrastructure, social sector and governance reforms. Uganda is using its $57,900,000 savings in 2006 on improving energy infrastructure to try to ease acute electricity shortages, as well as primary education, malaria control, healthcare and water infrastructure (specifically targeting the poor and under-served villages). Zambia is using its savings of $23,800,000 under the MDRI in 2006 to increase spending on agricultural projects, such as smallholder irrigation and livestock disease control, as well as to eliminate fees for healthcare in rural areas.CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
(7) While debt cancellation has a record of success, there remains an unfinished agenda on international debt. There are a number of challenges to both the effective reduction of poverty and inequality and the achievement of broader debt cancellation.CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
(8) 2007 is an important year to address the unfinished agenda on international debt as the global Jubilee debt campaign has declared 2007 a `Sabbath year', 7 years after the historic Jubilee 2000 campaign.CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
(9) A critical issue which needs to be addressed on debt is the way that non-concessional lenders stand to gain financially from lending to poor countries that have benefited from debt relief without having paid for past debt relief or facing the prospect of paying for the future relief of unsustainable and irresponsible new lending. In these cases, the gains of debt relief for poor debtor countries are at risk of being eroded. This takes the form of new lending to countries that have received debt cancellation from countries including China.CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
(10) It is also essential that all lenders and borrowers accept co-responsibility and learn from past mistakes--as evidenced by the debt crisis itself--by making more productive investment choices and engaging in more responsible lending and borrowing in the future. In October 2006, Norway became the first creditor to accept co-responsibility for past lending mistakes and cancelled the debt of 5 nations on the grounds that the loans reflected poor development policy.CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
(11) A growing number of governments and intergovernmental bodies, including the United Kingdom, the European Commission, and Norway, are raising concerns about the harmful impacts of certain economic policy conditionalities. Many impoverished countries that have received debt cancellation under the HIPC and MDRI initiatives have done so at a high social cost, because they have had to implement certain economic policy conditions, including the privatization of essential basic services such as water, and comply with other harmful requirements. Some of these policies have had the effect of limiting fiscal space for productive investment and threatening growth and human development. Several countries currently eligible for debt cancellation under the HIPC or MDRI programs are facing extended delays in receiving cancellation because they are struggling to comply with such requirements from the IMF and World Bank.CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
(12) There is also an urgent need to look beyond the constraints of current debt relief initiatives to address the need for expanded debt cancellation. The current initiatives allow countries to qualify for relief based on economic criteria rather than human needs. A January 2007 report by the United Nations Human Rights Council found that eligibility for debt cancellation should be expanded to cover all low-income countries.CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
(13) The Government of the United Kingdom has proposed that qualification for the MDRI be extended to the 67 nations which qualify for assistance exclusively from the International Development Association. To be eligible for cancellation, countries must meet economic criteria pertaining to public financial management, anti-corruption measures, and budget transparency.CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
(14) Since debt cancellation is an essential component of the United States development assistance strategy and the United States has been able to lead the debt cancellation efforts of the international community by example, the United States should continue to work to improve and expand initiatives in this area.CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
SEC. 3. CANCELLATION OF DEBT OWED BY ELIGIBLE LOW-INCOME COUNTRIES.
`SEC. 1626. CANCELLATION OF DEBT OWED BY ELIGIBLE LOW-INCOME COUNTRIES.
`(a) In General- The Secretary of the Treasury shall commence immediate efforts, within the Paris Club of Official Creditors, the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (World Bank), and the other international financial institutions (as defined in section 1701(c)(2)), to negotiate an agreement to accomplish the following:CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
`(1) Cancellation by each international financial institution of all debts owed to the institution by eligible low-income countries, and, to the extent possible, financing the debt cancellation from the ongoing operations, procedures, and accounts of the institution, without undermining the financial integrity of the institution.CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
`(4) Ensuring that the provision of debt cancellation to eligible low-income countries is not followed by a reduction in the provision of any other development assistance to the countries by international financial institutions and bilateral creditors, or to other countries eligible for assistance from the International Development Association.CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
`(5) Encouraging the government of each eligible low-income country to allocate at least 20 percent of its national budget towards poverty-alleviation programs such as the provision of basic health care services, education services, and clean water services to all individuals in the country.CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
This subsection shall not be interpreted to authorize the Secretary of the Treasury to enter into an agreement to accomplish any of the foregoing without express congressional authorization to do so.CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
`(b) Establishment of Framework for Creditor Transparency- The Secretary of the Treasury shall commence immediate efforts, within the Paris Club of Official Creditors, the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, and the other international financial institutions (as so defined), to ensure that each of the institutions--CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
`(1) continues to make efforts to promote greater transparency regarding the activities of the institution, including credit, grant, guarantee, and technical assistance operations, following a policy of maximum disclosure; andCommentsClose CommentsPermalink
`(2) supports continued efforts to allow informed participation and input by affected communities, including translation of information on proposed projects, provision of information (including draft documents) through information technology application, oral briefings, and outreach to and dialogue with community organizations and institutions in affected areas.CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
`(A) guarantees that no creditor can take or expect to take financial advantage of acquired or newly awarded debt relief through the terms and rates of such lending to beneficiary countries;CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
`(C) foresees, as a sanction for creditors who violate it, an equitable share in the burden of the losses from any future debt relief needed by the sovereign debtor to whom lending was irresponsibly provided;CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
`(4) support the development of responsible financing standards where creditors and aid/loan recipients alike adhere to standards to assure transparency and accountability to citizens, human rights, and the avoidance of new odious debt, while encouraging the development of renewable energy and helping countries to transition away from dependence on oil.CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
`(1) IN GENERAL- The Comptroller General of the United States shall undertake an audit of the debt portfolios of previous governments in countries such as the Democratic Republic of Congo and South Africa, where there is significant evidence that odious, onerous, or illegal loans were made to the government. Each such audit shall--CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
`(A) consider debt owed to the World Bank, the IMF, and the other international financial institutions (as so defined), export credit debts owed to governments, and debts owed to commercial creditors, and assess whether or not past investments produced the intended results;CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
`(B) investigate the process by which the loans were contracted, how the funds were used, and determine whether United States or international laws were violated in the contraction of these loans, and whether any of the loans were odious or onerous; andCommentsClose CommentsPermalink
`(2) REPORT- Within 2 years after the date of the enactment of this section, the Comptroller General of the United States shall prepare and submit to the Committees on Financial Services and on Foreign Affairs of the House of Representatives and the Committees on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs and on Foreign Relations of the Senate a report that contains the results of the audits undertaken under paragraph (1).CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
`(e) Availability on Treasury Department Website of Remarks of United States Executive Directors at Meetings of International Financial Institutions' Boards of Directors- The Secretary of the Treasury shall make available on the website of the Department of the Treasury the full record of the remarks of the United States Executive Director at meetings of the boards of directors of the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, and the other international financial institutions (as so defined), about cancellation or reduction of debts owed to the institution involved, with redaction by the Secretary of the Treasury of material deemed too sensitive for public distribution, but showing the topic, amount of material redacted, and reason for the redaction.CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
`(f) Report From the Comptroller General- Within 1 year after the date of the enactment of this section, the Comptroller General of the United States shall prepare and submit to the Committees on Financial Services and on Foreign Affairs of the House of Representatives and the Committees on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs and on Foreign Relations of the Senate a report on the availability of the ongoing operations, procedures, and accounts of the IMF, the World Bank, and the other international financial institutions (as so defined) for canceling the debt of eligible low-income countries.CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
`(g) Annual Reports From the President- Not later than December 31 of each year, the President shall submit to the Committees on Financial Services and on Foreign Affairs of the House of Representatives and the Committees on Foreign Relations and on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs of the Senate a report, which shall be made available to the public, on the activities undertaken under this section, and other progress made in accomplishing the purposes of this section, for the prior fiscal year. The report shall include a list of the countries that have received debt cancellation, a list of the countries whose request for debt cancellation has been denied and the reasons therefor, and a list of the countries whose requests for debt cancellation are under consideration.CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
`(1) that is eligible for financing from the International Development Association but not from the World Bank, and does not qualify for debt relief under the Enhanced HIPC Initiative (as defined in section 1625(e)(3)) and under the Multilateral Debt Relief Initiative;CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
`(2) that has transparent and effective budget execution and public financial management systems which ensure that the savings from debt relief are spent on reducing poverty;CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
`(4) the government of which has not provided support for acts of international terrorism, as determined by the Secretary of State under section 6(j)(1) of the Export Administration Act of 1979 (50 U.S.C. App. 2405(j)(1)), or section 620A(a) of the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961 (
);CommentsClose CommentsPermalink 22 U.S.C. 2371(a)
`(6) the government of which (including its military or other security forces) does not engage in a pattern of gross violations of internationally recognized human rights (as defined in section 116 of the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961 (
));CommentsClose CommentsPermalink Public Law 87-195
`(7) the government of which has not been identified in the most recent Trafficking in Persons Report issued by the Department of State as not fully complying with minimum standards for eliminating human trafficking and not making significant efforts to do so;CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
SEC. 4. LIMITATION ON CONDITIONALITY OF DEBT RELIEF FOR ELIGIBLE LOW-INCOME COUNTRIES.
`SEC. 1627. LIMITATION ON CONDITIONALITY OF DEBT RELIEF FOR ELIGIBLE LOW-INCOME COUNTRIES.
`(a) In General- The Secretary of the Treasury shall commence immediate efforts within the Paris Club of Official Creditors, the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (World Bank), and the other international financial institutions (as defined in section 1701(c)(2)), to ensure that debt cancellation is provided to eligible low-income countries (as defined in section 1626(h)) subject to all and only the following conditions: That the government of such a country--CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
`(1) take steps so that the financial benefits of debt relief are applied to programs to combat poverty (in particular through concrete measures to improve economic infrastructure, basic services in education, nutrition, and health, particularly treatment and prevention of the leading causes of mortality) and to redress environmental degradation;CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
`(7) produce an annual report disclosing how the savings from debt cancellation were used, and make the report publicly available and easily accessible to all interested parties, including civil society groups and the media.CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
`(b) Annual Reports to the Congress- Not later than December 31 of each year, the President shall submit to the Committees on Financial Services and on International Relations of the House of Representatives and the Committees on Foreign Relations and on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs of the Senate a report, which shall be made available to the public, on the activities undertaken under this section, and other progress made in accomplishing the purposes of this section, for the prior fiscal year.'.CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
SEC. 5. SENSE OF THE CONGRESS.
It is the sense of the Congress that to further the goals of debt reduction for low-income countries, in addition to the efforts described in this Act, the United States should pay off outstanding arrearages of $595,800,000 to the International Development Association and regional development banks, and become current on all debt reduction efforts, including those carried out by the International Development Association and under the Enhanced Heavily Indebted Poor Countries Initiative and the Multilateral Debt Relief Initiative.CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
SEC. 6. SENSE OF THE CONGRESS.
(b) Sense of the Congress- It is the sense of the Congress that, due to the current humanitarian and political instability in Haiti, including food shortages and political turmoil, the Secretary of the Treasury should use his influence to expedite the complete and immediate cancellation of Haiti's debts to all international financial institutions, or if such debt cancellation cannot be provided, to urge the institutions to immediately suspend the requirement that Haiti make further debt service payments on debts owed to the institutions.CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
Vote on This Bill
- “EXCUSE ME..........BUT NO ONE EVER FORGAVE MY DEBTS..........OR EVEN HEL...” Anonymous
- “EXCUSE ME..........BUT NO ONE EVER FORGAVE MY DEBTS..........OR EVEN HEL...” Anonymous
OC Blog Articles Related To This Bill
- Secretive Conference Committee Fights Back Attempt to Prohibit Indefinite Military Detention of US Citizens Dec 20, 2012
- House advancing Fed transparency bill that was stripped out of Dodd-Frank Jun 26, 2012
- Will Government Employees Publicly Oppose #FreeTHOMAS? Jun 05, 2012
- Yes, let's stride towards an open VCS for legislation (or, GitHub for laws on OC) May 23, 2012
- Indefinite military detention for U.S. citizens now in the hands of a secretive conference committee Dec 08, 2011