Washington, DC – The Debt Relief for Earthquake Recovery in Haiti Act (H.R. 4573) authored by Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-CA) was signed into law by President Barack Obama Monday at the White House. The bill, which would help relieve Haiti of hundreds of millions of dollars in debt owed to multilateral institutions, recently passed both chambers of Congress, and is now classified as Public Law No: 111-158.
“The President’s signature on this bill is further indication of the United States’ support for the people of Haiti,” said Congresswoman Waters. “I authored this legislation because Haiti’s immense debt burden would have severely impeded the country’s recovery efforts. Our government will work closely with the multilateral development institutions to ensure that they cancel all of Haiti’s debts owed to them, and that future aid over the next few years is delivered in the form of grants, so that Haiti does not accumulate more debt.”
Public Law No: 111-158 directs the Secretary of the Treasury to instruct the U.S. Executive Directors at the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) 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.
Public Law No: 111-158 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. A Senate amendment included in the House bill 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, who serves on the Financial Services Subcommittee on International Monetary Policy and Trade, participated in a hearing today on promoting small and micro enterprise in Haiti.
Congresswoman Waters said, “To help Haiti move forward, I am focused on making sure that durable forms of shelter continue to be delivered and distributed to the millions of survivors living in the camps for the displaced, so that they stay dry and protected from disease during the impending rainy season. Additionally, I will be assisting Haitian small business people and nongovernmental organizations in forming partnerships with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) so that they have a substantive role in the rebuilding of their country.”