Haiti Debt Relief Bill Authored by Congresswoman Maxine Waters Passes House, Senate
The House of Representatives today passed legislation authored and introduced by Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-CA) providing debt relief for Haiti. Following its original passage in the House on March 10th, the bill was passed by the Senate, with an amendment, on March 26th and returned to the House for final passage. The Debt Relief for Earthquake Recovery in Haiti Act (H.R. 4573) will now make its way to the White House to be signed into law.
Congresswoman Waters said, "America has stood by the people of Haiti during their hour of need, and the passage of this bill today signifies our intention to ensure that Haiti can rebuild and recover without accumulating more debt."
H.R. 4573 directs the Secretary of the Treasury to instruct the U.S. Executive Directors at the World Bank, the IMF, the IDB and other multilateral development institutions to use the voice, vote, and influence of the United States to do the following:
1. cancel immediately and completely all debt owed by Haiti to these institutions;
2. suspend Haiti's debt service payments to the institutions until the debt is canceled completely; and
3. provide additional assistance to Haiti in the form of grants so that Haiti does not accumulate additional debt.
H.R. 4573 also directs the Secretary of the Treasury and the Secretary of State to use all appropriate diplomatic influence to secure the cancellation of all remaining bilateral, multilateral, and private creditor debt owed by Haiti.
The Senate amendment to H.R. 4573 specifies that Haiti should receive aid in the form of grants until February 1, 2015. After that time, multilateral development institutions may resume aid in the form of new loans.
Congresswoman Waters said, "I believe five years is a reasonable amount of time for Haiti to be able to recover without the burden of debt service payments on new loans, so I support the Senate's amendment."
"The people of Haiti are poor, but they are physically and spiritually resilient," the Congresswoman continued. "I know that with the support of the international community, they will recover from this tragedy and create a brighter future for their children."