The best of EcoWatch, right in your inbox. Sign up for our email newsletter!
Ripping 'Greedy Wall Street Vulture Funds' Profiting From Misery, Warren and Sanders Introduce Bill to Cancel Puerto Rico's Debt
By Jake Johnson
As advocacy groups urgently warn that Wall Street firms are moving to capitalize on Puerto Rico's plight in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria by extracting debt payments and pushing for the privatization of public services, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) joined Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and several other Democratic senators on Wednesday to introduce a bill that would "provide an avenue to comprehensive debt relief" for the island.
"Greedy Wall Street vulture funds must not be allowed to reap huge profits off the suffering and misery of the Puerto Rican people for a second longer," Sanders said in a statement on the new bill, which would also provide debt relief for the U.S. Virgin Islands and other territories ravaged by recent hurricanes. "It is time to end Wall Street's stranglehold on Puerto Rico's future, return control of the island to the people of Puerto Rico, and give the territory the debt relief it so desperately needs to rebuild with dignity."
As reporter David Dayen noted in The Intercept, the senators' new legislation is a striking departure from efforts to address Puerto Rico's debt crisis under President Barack Obama, who in 2016 signed legislation that "led to punishing austerity proposals, mass protests and a wave of privatization, with assets sold off to finance interest payments."
Following Hurricane Maria, Dayen wrote, Puerto Rico is now "in the impossible position of rebuilding, attracting economic investment, and paying down debt simultaneously."
The legislation introduced by Sanders, Warren, and other prominent Senate Democrats would partially lift the island's massive burden by making most of its $73 billion in debt eligible for cancellation.
"Puerto Rico was already being squeezed before Hurricane Maria hit and will now have to rebuild under the weight of crushing debt. Our bill will give territories that have suffered an extraordinary crisis a route to comprehensive debt relief and a chance to get back on their feet," Warren said in a statement. "Disaster funding and the other resources in struggling territories' budgets must not go to Wall Street vulture funds who snapped up their debt. Congress should pass this legislation right away—our fellow U.S. citizens are counting on us."
The new bill—officially titled the U.S. Territorial Relief Act of 2018—has been endorsed by dozens of advocacy groups, including LatinoJustice, Amor Para Puerto Rico, National Low Income Housing Coalition, Alliance for Puerto Rico-Massachusetts, CREDO and Grassroots Global Justice.
Reposted with permission from our media associate Common Dreams.
- A Coder and a YouTuber Provide DIY Power for Puerto Rico ›
- Hurricane Maria Aftermath: FEMA Admits to Deadly Mistakes in ... ›
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
A middle-aged married couple in China was diagnosed with pneumonic plague, a highly infectious disease similar to bubonic plague, which ravaged Europe in the middle ages, as CNN reported.
Dairy aisles have exploded with milk and milk alternative options over the past few years, and choosing the healthiest milk isn't just about the fat content.
Whether you're looking beyond cow's milk for health reasons or dietary preferences or simply want to experiment with different options, you may wonder which type of milk is healthiest for you.
At least 1,688 dams across the U.S. are in such a hazardous condition that, if they fail, could force life-threatening floods on nearby homes, businesses, infrastructure or entire communities, according to an in-depth analysis of public records conducted by the the Associated Press.
By Sabrina Kessler
Far-reaching allegations about how a climate-sinning American multinational could shamelessly lie to the public about its wrongdoing mobilized a small group of New York students on a cold November morning. They stood in front of New York's Supreme Court last week to follow the unprecedented lawsuit against ExxonMobil.
By Alex Robinson
Leah Garcés used to hate poultry farmers.
The animal rights activist, who opposes factory farming, had an adversarial relationship with chicken farmers until around five years ago, when she sat down to listen to one. She met a poultry farmer called Craig Watts in rural North Carolina and learned that the problems stemming from factory farming extended beyond animal cruelty.
Temperatures plunged rapidly across the U.S. this week and around 70 percent of the population is expected to experience temperatures around freezing Wednesday.