Western Queens Gazette: Call For US Action To Boost Greek Economy
Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney (NY-12), co-chair of the Congressional Hellenic Caucus and Ranking Member of the House Financial Services Capital Markets and GSEs Subcommittee, was joined by prominent members of the Greek and financial communities to urge the US to take two key steps to boost Greece's economy.
Maloney sent a letter on August 13 to US Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew, Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen, and the heads of two key US federal financial regulators urging them to work with their counterparts in Greece to find a way to allow for US remittances to reach family and friends in Greece. The Congresswoman also released a letter coauthored with Hellenic Caucus Co-Chair Rep. Gus Bilirakis (FL-12), encouraging the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) to explore ways in which it can actively encourage investment in Greece to stimulate economic growth and stability.
The Congresswoman’s sentiments were echoed by those in attendance, including Representatives from Atlantic Bank, New York Businessman John Catsimatidis, LIC Chamber of Commerce President Arthur Rosenfield, Executive Director of the Hellenic Initiative Mark Arey, and Taso Pardalis with the Hellenic American Leadership Council.Maloney’s efforts follow a meeting she attended on August 6 in Washington, D.C. with Greek-American leaders, White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough, Deputy National Security Advisor for International Economics Caroline Atkinson, and Vice President Joe Biden to discuss efforts to assist Greeceduring its financial crisis. During the meeting an interministerial committee was established to discuss humanitarian, economic, trade, military, investment, and health issues with the Greek government. Meeting participants encouraged the formulation of a reform plan that would make the debt sustainable and create a path to economic recovery.
"Greece gets over $800 million a year in remittances, but right now that money is just sitting on the sidelines because of the capital controls on the Greek banks,” Maloney said. “We need to find a way to get the money into the Greek economy right away, so people can start paying bills, buying groceries and creating jobs. That’s why I’m calling on Secretary Lew, Chair Yellen and other US financial regulatory leaders to work with their Greek counterparts to solve this pressing problem. The US should also take steps to encourage more US business investment in Greece and I’m proud to be working with my Hellenic Caucus Co-Chair, Rep. Gus Bilirakis, on a letter to the Overseas Private Investment Corporation urging it to do whatever it can to support Greece during this financial crisis.”
“Hard working Greek-Americans who have achieved the American dream want nothing more than to help out their families who are struggling during this hard time,” said Assemblywoman Aravella Simotas. “We should do all that we can to ensure that these remittances reach their intended recipients in a timely manner.”
“As the world gets smaller and the interdependency of our economies grows, it becomes more important to help our allies maintain a robust economic climate. It is important for all our sakes to do what we can to help Greece recover from its current crisis as soon as possible,” said state Senator Michael Gianaris.