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Compact case
Published by: Harvard Kennedy School
Published in: 2001

Abstract

In the fall of 2000, surprising momentum appeared to be growing behind the idea of forgiving the public debts owed by poor, developing nations, both to richer countries and to international institutions. The concept of "debt relief" had gained support from liberal groups concerned about poverty, as well as Christian conservatives inspired by the Biblical injunction of "jubilee" years-the periodic forgiveness of debts, a notion reinforced by the drama of the advent of the new millenium. This case uses the issue of debt relief to illuminate the processes, strategies, and tactics associated with the committee process in a legislative body- specifically, the U.S. Congress. In particular, it looks at the approach taken by debt relief advocates in the wake of an adverse early committee report, in order to salvage the possibility of debt relief legislation.

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Abstract

In the fall of 2000, surprising momentum appeared to be growing behind the idea of forgiving the public debts owed by poor, developing nations, both to richer countries and to international institutions. The concept of "debt relief" had gained support from liberal groups concerned about poverty, as well as Christian conservatives inspired by the Biblical injunction of "jubilee" years-the periodic forgiveness of debts, a notion reinforced by the drama of the advent of the new millenium. This case uses the issue of debt relief to illuminate the processes, strategies, and tactics associated with the committee process in a legislative body- specifically, the U.S. Congress. In particular, it looks at the approach taken by debt relief advocates in the wake of an adverse early committee report, in order to salvage the possibility of debt relief legislation.

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