GOP House Rejects Debt Relief for Poor Nations

Nathan Newman nathan.newman at
Thu Jul 13 13:16:44 PDT 2000

On Thu, 13 Jul 2000, Doug Henwood wrote:

>When Sonny Callahan, one of the
> Republicans Nathan so seems to despise, charges on the House floor that HIPC
> is just a way of "bailing out the banks," how wrong is he? (I'm not carrying
> water for Callahan here -- he's right on this, but his overall philosophy is
> that "third world" governments don't deserve debt cancellation because
> they're so corrupt.)
> Soren Ambrose
> 50 Years Is Enough Network

Of course the relief is bailing out the banks. It also bails out the countries who are paying most of their state budgets to paying off those banks- such as Tanzania where 40 percent of the population dies before the age of 35, the government spends nine times more on debt payments than on health care and primary education combined.

While I am sure no one who thinks the banks should choke on their own loans thinks this is the ideal legislation, it is far better than the status quo. This is the legislation that could muster a majority of votes in Congress - that is the reality and is why the Jubilee USA coalition has been pushing for its passage.

This is the legislation that the Jubilee2000 USA coalition has been pushing for passage and they have denounced Callahan's position on this legislation in this wasy. National Coordinator, Dan Driscoll-Shaw denounced Callahan and his Committee for initially cutting the funds:

"Our legislators have once again turned their backs on the 19,000 children that die every day as a result of debt. Where is the compassion in this conservatism? Now, when the United States is expecting an enormous surplus, is the time to take action and let the people in these heavily indebted countries get on with the business of caring for their own people."

Maybe Soren Ambrose disagrees with the Jubillee2000 USA coalition (of which 50 Years is Enough is a member) position, but it is worth noting the list of supporters of the coalition and this debt relief effort. Of course you can criticize the details as non-ideal, but an imperfect step forward is better than praising reactionaries who do nothing.

Endorsers of the Jubillee 2000 USA Effort:

Africa Faith and Justice Network Africa Fund Africa Policy Information Center American Friends Service Committee Baptist World Alliance Bread for the World Catholic Relief Services Center of Concern Church of the Brethren/Washington Office Church World Service/National Council of the Churches of Christ in the USA Columban Justice & Peace Office Conference of Major Superiors of Men Cooperative Baptist Fellowship Debt Relief Task Force, United Church of Christ, Massachusetts Conference Episcopal Church Episcopal Peace Fellowship Evangelical Lutheran Church in America 50 Years Is Enough US Network for Global Economic Justice Friends Committee on National Legislation Friends of the Earth Haiti Reborn/Quixote Center Jubilee 2000 Inland Northwest Jubilee 2000/USA Michigan Coalition Leadership Conference of Women Religious Lutheran World Relief Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns [representing Maryknoll Society; Medical Mission Sisters Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate Nicaragua-US Friendship Office Oxfam America Pathfinder International Preamble Center Presbyterian Church/USA Quest for Peace Sisters of the Holy Cross Sisters of the Holy Name (Calif. Province, Justice & Peace Committee) Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur Sojourners Union of American Hebrew Congregations United Church of Christ/Network for Environmental & Economic Responsibility United Church of Christ/Office of Church and Society United Methodist Church/General Board for Church and Society United Methodist Church/Women US Catholic Mission Association Washington Office on Africa Witness for Peace World Vision

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