Catholic Bishops and Jubilee USA Network Ask Biden for Global COVID Aid and Debt Relief

 $3 Trillion in Global Reserve Funds Should be Released to Support Developing Countries, Encourage Faith Leaders

The Biden Administration should support the release of $3 trillion in global reserve funds to support developing countries confront the COVID pandemic, say the US Catholic Bishops and Jubilee USA Network in a letter to President Biden. The letter also encourages the G20 and private groups to cancel debts for suffering developing countries, stopping tax avoidance, increasing aid and creating a permanent global bankruptcy process to prevent future economic crises.

"The U.S. should support policies that include public budget transparency, raising revenues in the developing world through stopping corruption and tax evasion, responsible lending and borrowing, common good trade agreements and implementing a global bankruptcy or crisis resolution process," wrote Bishop David J. Malloy, Chairman of the Committee on International Justice and Peace of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops and Eric LeCompte, Executive Director of Jubilee USA Network. 

The letter to Biden comes after he attended last week's G7 Summit and Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen meets this week with G20 finance ministers on pandemic response. The G7 and G20 are currently debating debt relief and the size of a creation of general reserve funds or Special Drawing Rights.

"Given the pandemic’s effects in developing countries, the U.S. Government must lead the world in accessing emergency reserve funds, or what’s known as the creation of the IMF’s Special Drawing Rights (SDRs). These generated funds were crucial in supporting economies to survive the 2008 financial crisis," noted Malloy and LeCompte. "We welcome the emerging consensus in the G20 to create $500 billion in SDRs. We urge your Administration to lead a response with the G20, IMF and Congress, that would generate a $3 trillion SDR issuance that would immediately deliver $1 trillion to all developing countries."

The letter on behalf of the largest US religious group, the Catholic Church, and the interfaith religious development group, Jubilee USA detailed concerns of the pandemic's impact on poverty and inequality, "...more than 495 million jobs are lost across the global economy, and the World Bank says that as many as 150 million people will fall into extreme poverty this year." The letter also thanked the Biden Administration for commitments on debt relief and for making changes to the financial system.

"The Catholic Bishops and Jubilee USA are urging both short-term solutions to resolve the current crisis and long-term solutions to prevent the next one," stated LeCompte. "We need more aid and debt relief now for developing countries. We need a bankruptcy process, better trade agreements and to stop tax avoidance and corruption to prevent the next crisis."

Read the joint US Conference of Catholic Bishops/Jubilee USA Network Letter to President Biden here

Creative Commons Licence