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Jubilee Act for Responsible Lending and Expanded Debt Cancellation of 2008

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Ms. PELOSI. I thank the gentleman for yielding, and I thank him for his kind words of recognition to the Pelosi amendment. And I thank him for his tremendous leadership on debt forgiveness, not only now, but for a number of years.

I remember watching the master at work to see Mr. Frank work with the then Clinton administration in the year 2000 when we were trying to get the millennium debt forgiveness. He, along with Congresswoman MAXINE WATERS, have really made a tremendous difference in all this. And they have talked about some of the differences made in the countries, Congresswoman Waters did earlier.

God bless us in this House to be able to serve with Congressman Bachus. He has just been such a wonderful leader in the House; his value-based policies, sensitive to the needs of people in the world, and how that relates to the security of our country, and how this is important from the standpoint of security and compassion, but it makes good, practical economic sense as well. You're a wonderful leader in this regard, and it is an honor to call you colleague, SPENCER BACHUS, distinguished ranking member of the committee.

This has been a bipartisan initiative from the start. I appreciate the letter that was sent out by Chairman Waters and Spencer Bachus, Barney Frank, Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, Judy Biggert, a senior member of the Financial Services Committee, as well as Carolyn Maloney from that committee, advocating for this Jubilee Act to be passed today and spelling out exactly what it does as Mr. Bachus did so very clearly just a moment ago. And so with all the recognition to those on the committee and those who have worked on this issue, thank you for bringing us to this moment on this day.

And I was very pleased and accept Congresswoman Waters' acknowledgment of our insisting that it be brought up today because today is the day we welcomed the Holy Father, Pope Benedict, to Washington, D.C. Many of us have just returned from the White House, where we were very proud of the welcoming ceremony presided over by President Bush and Mrs. Bush to welcome Pope Benedict and to be stirred by both of their words, the words of our President and also of the Holy Father.

In his remarks, the Holy Father talked about truth and justice and freedom. He talked about respecting the dignity and worth of every person, regarding each other as brothers and sisters, all God's children. He made a beautiful and inspiring speech. And really his speech was reflected in the remarks that Spencer Bachus made here in that same regard of what our responsibilities are to our brothers and sisters.

Today is the Holy Father's birthday. And as the President said, he is spending his birthday with friends. And in friendship, we bring this Jubilee Act to the floor today.

This is not the first resolution to welcome His Holiness to America. Last week, we all voted in strong support in a bipartisan way for Congressman McCotter's resolution of welcome to the Holy Father. Yesterday, Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren had legislation on the floor relating to religious workers' visas and their ability to work in the United States, which is an issue of importance to His Holiness. And now today, this very important resolution.

The former Holy Father, Pope Paul II, said, ``If you want peace, work for justice.'' There has always been a connection here. With this debt forgiveness, it enables countries to do many more things to promote justice in their countries, whether it's the eradication of disease, the alleviation of poverty, eliminating some of the factors that contribute to the fury of despair that leads to violence that makes the world less safe.

Again, this was a high priority, this debt forgiveness, for John Paul II when he was Pope, and he led the Cardinals in America Conference of Bishops to advocate for this. But it has not just been a Catholic initiative, it has been an interfaith initiative in the country, in the world, and certainly in this Congress.

So it's very exciting, on this Holy Father's birthday, as we welcome him to America, we do so in a way, as Mr. Bachus said, that just gives the authority to negotiate for these improvements in the forgiveness of debt so that we can, again, do what is right for respecting the spark of divinity that exists in every person in the world, that we can try to bring some justice to it, we, who have so much, for those who are also God's children need our help, and give them hope.

People say to me, where is hope? I say, hope; it's right where it's always been. Hope sits right there comfortably between faith and charity. We are people of faith who believe in the goodness of people. And we have faith that the charity that that will evoke or bring forth will help honor the hope that people have in the world.

So this is a great occasion, again, to welcome His Holiness, to stand up for all the people in the world, and to do what he called upon us to do this morning, he called upon us, he said, ``we must have the courage.''

Today, I hope that we have a unanimous bipartisan show of courage to do what is right. Again, I thank Mr. Frank, Mr. Bachus and Congresswoman Waters for their relentlessness on this issue and the opportunity that they give us to give hope today.


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