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H.R. 4573 (111th): Haiti Debt Relief and Earthquake Recovery Act of 2010

The text of the bill below is as of Feb 2, 2010 (Introduced).


I

111th CONGRESS

2d Session

H. R. 4573

IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

February 2, 2010

(for herself, Mr. Payne, Ms. Lee of California, Mr. Frank of Massachusetts, Ms. Ros-Lehtinen, Ms. Moore of Wisconsin, Mrs. Christensen, Mr. Al Green of Texas, Mr. Cohen, Ms. Pingree of Maine, Ms. Clarke, Mr. Honda, Mr. Rangel, Mr. Conyers, Mr. Delahunt, Ms. Corrine Brown of Florida, Mrs. Maloney, Mr. Filner, Mr. McDermott, Ms. Fudge, Mr. Butterfield, Mr. Meek of Florida, Mr. Towns, Mr. Fattah, Mr. Serrano, Mr. Hastings of Florida, Ms. Jackson Lee of Texas, Ms. Wasserman Schultz, Ms. Edwards of Maryland, Mr. Kucinich, and Mr. Farr) introduced the following bill; which was referred to the Committee on Financial Services

A BILL

To direct the Secretary of the Treasury to instruct the United States Executive Directors at the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, the Inter-American Development Bank, and other multilateral development institutions to use the voice, vote, and influence of the United States to cancel immediately and completely Haiti’s debts to such institutions, and for other purposes.

1.

Short title

This Act may be cited as the Debt Relief for Earthquake Recovery in Haiti Act of 2010.

2.

Findings

The Congress finds the following:

(1)

On January 12, 2010, a 7.0 magnitude earthquake struck the country of Haiti.

(2)

Casualty estimates, still being compiled, as well as infrastructure damage, including to roads, ports, hospitals, and residential dwellings, place this earthquake as the worst cataclysm to hit Haiti in over two centuries.

(3)

An estimated 3,000,000 people have been directly affected by the disaster in Haiti, nearly one-third of the country's population, who are currently at risk of long-term displacement and vulnerability.

(4)

The destruction of infrastructure, particularly to the port, airport, roads, and telecommunications, continues to hinder the immediate delivery of humanitarian assistance in Haiti.

(5)

Haiti is the poorest, least developed country in the Western Hemisphere, and prior to the earthquake was ranked 149 out of 182 countries on the United Nations Human Development Index.

(6)

Prior to the earthquake, Haiti was still in the process of recovering from a ruinous recent series of hurricanes and tropical storms, food shortages and rising commodity prices, and political instability, but was showing encouraging signs of improvement.

(7)

President Obama vowed the unwavering support of the United States and pledged a swift, coordinated and aggressive effort to save lives and support the recovery in Haiti.

(8)

The response to the tragedy from the global community has been overwhelmingly positive.

(9)

The initial emergency response of the men and women of the United States Government, led by the United States Agency for International Development and United States Southern Command, has been swift and resolute.

(10)

Individuals, businesses, and philanthropic organizations across the United States and throughout the international community have responded in support of Haiti and its populace during this time of crisis.

(11)

Throughout this terrible calamity, the Haitian people continue to demonstrate unwavering resilience, dignity, and courage.

(12)

Once proper surveys and assessments are conducted, the initial and crucial emergency relief response will likely move to a comprehensive mission requiring sustained assistance from the United States and the international community for reconstruction and development efforts.

(13)

The Government of Haiti cannot afford to invest in reconstruction and development efforts, while continuing to make payments on debts owed to multilateral financial institutions like the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the World Bank, and the Inter-American Development Bank and to other international creditors.

(14)

Prior to the earthquake, debt service payments to multilateral financial institutions and other international creditors already were a tremendous burden that interfered with the ability of the Government of Haiti to meet the needs of its people.

(15)

On June 30, 2009, the World Bank announced that Haiti qualified for and received $1.2 billion in debt relief from the IMF, the World Bank, and other multilateral financial institutions.

(16)

In order to qualify for debt relief, the Government of Haiti successfully developed and implemented a comprehensive Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper, under the direction of the IMF and the World Bank.

(17)

According to the U.S. Department of the Treasury, despite previous debt relief, Haiti still owes a total of $709 million in debts to multilateral financial institutions, including $447 million to the Inter-American Development Bank, $165 million to the IMF, $39 million to the World Bank, and $58 million to the International Fund for Agricultural Development.

(18)

According to the IMF, Haiti owed Venezuela $167 million and Taiwan $92 million at the end of September, 2008; furthermore, the amounts of these debts may have grown since that time.

(19)

The cancellation of Haiti’s debts to multilateral financial institutions and other international creditors will allow the Government of Haiti to use its meager resources for essential reconstruction and development efforts.

3.

Cancellation of Haiti’s debts to international financial institutions

Title XVI of the International Financial Institutions Act (22 U.S.C. 262p et seq.) is amended by adding at the end the following new section:

1628.

Cancellation of Haiti’s debts to international financial institutions

The Secretary of the Treasury shall instruct the United States Executive Directors at the International Monetary Fund, the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (World Bank), the Inter-American Development Bank, and other multilateral development institutions (as defined in section 1701(c)(3)) to use the voice, vote, and influence of the United States to—

(1)

cancel immediately and completely all debts owed by Haiti to such institutions;

(2)

suspend Haiti’s debt service payments to such institutions until such time as the debts are canceled completely; and

(3)

provide additional assistance from such institutions to Haiti in the form of grants so that Haiti does not accumulate additional debts.

.

4.

Cancellation of Haiti’s debts to other creditors

The Secretary of the Treasury shall commence immediate efforts to urge other bilateral, multilateral, and private creditors to cancel immediately and completely all debts owed by Haiti to such creditors.