The Democrats on the House Financial Services Committee are pushing their proposed package of bills aimed at responding to the coronavirus (“COVID-19”) pandemic. This time around, they are supporting the bill that would place a moratorium on debt collection activities for the duration of the pandemic.
A May 5 release from the Democrats on the committee exclusively promotes a bill that would prohibit debt collection, repossession, and garnishment of wages during the pandemic.
“In light of the global coronavirus pandemic, and the economic hardship it will bring, my bill would suspend debt collections activity for 120 days to allow families and businesses an opportunity to get back on their feet,” Rep. Al Lawson (D-Fla.) says in the press release. “This would give working Americans, small business and non profits another tool in the recovery process.”
The bill, however, does not appear to call for an outright prohibition on collection activities. It imposes certain restrictions on debt collectors; however, it does not specifically prohibit collectors from making phone calls to individuals in an attempt to collect on the debt. One such example of a restriction imposed by the bill is that it does not allow collectors to initiate any lawsuits in an attempt to collect a debt.
The package of bills has been referred to the House Financial Services Committee for consideration, however, the committee currently has no hearings scheduled on its website. The press release did mention that Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.), Chairwoman of the House Financial Services Committee, and the rest of the committee is continuing its “efforts to ensure their critical legislation is included in the ongoing legislative response to the coronavirus crisis.”
Interested parties can always visit our Pepper Hamilton / Troutman Sanders COVID-19 Resource Center for breaking news and developments, recommendations, free tools, and our Response Team.