Congress is Headed into Recess: How to Get Involved in Advocacy

There is some uncertainty as to when members of Congress will be in their home districts during the August recess, but ACA International members can plan now to connect with their federal and state representatives using our advocacy resources.

7/19/2021 8:00 AM

AdvocacyNewsState
Congress is Headed into Recess: How to Get Involved in Advocacy

Congress’s summer break comes late in the season, and with a great deal of uncertainty on the timing, but constituents can expect their representatives to be in their home districts and available to connect sometime in August through Labor Day weekend.

Video meetings will still be an option, but ACA International members may see a few in-person town halls with their state or federal representatives pop up or a meet and greet at public events.

“Telling your story about the work you do helping creditors, employing people, and keeping the economy running is important. In person meetings or tours while members of Congress are in their home districts, or even over Zoom, are critical during this time when so much policymaking is directly impacting the industry,” said ACA’s Vice President and Senior Counsel of Federal Advocacy Leah Dempsey.

How can you get involved? Where should you start?

ACA has resources available on how to join advocacy efforts and help educate lawmakers about the accounts receivable management (ARM) industry.

ACA’s advocacy outreach is an extremely important component of its ongoing efforts to help members succeed.

Connecting with legislators now is also an opportunity to stay in contact throughout the year, plan visits during other recesses and attend their local events for constituents. If a meeting isn’t available during this year’s work period, stay in contact with staff at your local representative’s office to schedule a meeting during the next break, likely at the end of the year. And be sure to visit your representative’s official website for background information and an updated list of their critical issues.

The current congressional calendar was planned at the beginning of the 117th Congress but could potentially change based on the Biden administration’s priorities.


The U.S. Senate recess is scheduled Aug. 9 through Sept. 10, while the House is not scheduled to come back until Sept. 20.

Check out the latest version of ACA’s advocacy book, which includes talking points on ACA and its strategy and research about ongoing topics important to the ARM industry, such as Reg F, call labeling and text blocking and Telephone Consumer Protection Act reform.

Members can familiarize themselves with these topics and use the booklet, in addition to guidance from ACA’s advocacy team, to prepare for meetings with legislators or regulators.

If you’re more comfortable with a phone or video meeting, or your federal or state representative is not hosting in-person meetings, ACA is also running a video campaign for members to share about their business and the work of the ARM industry.

Agency tours are a strong advocacy tool and allow ACA members to connect with their legislators and regulators. When we can’t do that in person, a video is a great option.

Try talking about how you started your career in the industry and sharing why the work you do is important to businesses, the economy and consumers. It’s also a great opportunity to dispel misperceptions people have about the industry and help inform people to change their views about debt collectors.

If community service is part of your company’s mission, you can share about your recent projects and goals for the year ahead. Describing how COVID-19 has impacted your company, clients and the consumers you work with is also important.

Read more about the campaign and how to share your videos here. Members American Profit Recovery and Debt Recovery Solutions of Ohio recently participated.

State Advocacy

State legislatures’ schedules and summer breaks may be even more uncertain than at the federal level, but the same ideas apply if you’re interested in advocating with your local representatives.

From January-June 2021, ACA and its state units identified and tracked more than 860 state-level bills on topics such as medical debt, garnishment and data privacy that would impact the ARM industry if enacted.

“In addition to lobbying for ARM industry priorities as legislation is introduced, our state legislative teams—led by more than 30 contract lobbyists—implemented new advocacy techniques to adapt to the various COVID-19 restrictions at state capitols and the remote nature of committee meetings, testimony and votes,” said Vice President of State Unit and Government Affairs Andrew Madden.

Much like at the federal level, activity at the state level is ongoing, so continuing to make the ARM industry’s voice heard on these issues is critical, Madden said.

Reaching out and connecting with lawmakers during legislative recesses is an outstanding approach to building relationships with lawmakers and regulators.

“Lawmakers rely on engaged industry professionals to educate them about the real-world impact of their decisions and the congressional and state recesses are the perfect time to connect,” Madden said.

For more information on state-level advocacy or joining your state unit, contact Madden at madden@acainternational.org or Dempsey at dempsey@acainternational.org.

ACA also recommends members join the weekly ACA Huddle webinar at 11 a.m. CDT Wednesdays. The ACA Huddle features advocacy, compliance and education updates as well as guest speakers.

On the next ACA Huddle, 11 a.m. CDT July 21, ACA CEO Mark Neeb and President Scott Purcell will highlight important updates from the Midyear Accomplishments Report for members.

The report celebrates ACA’s recent:

  • Federal and state advocacy successes
  • New education initiatives
  • Event pivots
  • Compliance achievements
  • Proactive efforts to combat litigious attorneys
  • And more!

Visit the U.S. House of Representatives’ and U.S. Senate websites and ACA’s Advocacy Resource Center for additional information on how to connect with your member of Congress. House and Senate calendars are available at congress.gov.

If you meet with your member of Congress during the summer recess, let us know by emailing the Communications team at comm@acainternational.org.


Follow ACA International on Twitter @ACAIntl and @acacollector, Facebook and request to join our LinkedIn group for news and event updates. ACA International members are welcome to submit news items for possible publication to comm@acainternational.org. Visit our publications page for news submission guidelines and subscriptions to ACA Daily, Collector magazine and Pulse.

Advertising is available for companies wishing to promote their products or services. Be sure to visit the ACA Events Calendar on the Education and Training page to view our listing of upcoming CORE Curriculum and Hot Topic seminars featuring critical educational opportunities for your company.


Subscribe to ACA Daily NEWSROOM

Congress is Headed into Recess: How to Get Involved in Advocacy

Congress’s summer break comes late in the season, and with a great deal of uncertainty on the timing, but constituents can expect their representatives to be in their home districts and available to connect sometime in August through Labor Day weekend.

Video meetings will still be an option, but ACA International members may see a few in-person town halls with their state or federal representatives pop up or a meet and greet at public events.

“Telling your story about the work you do helping creditors, employing people, and keeping the economy running is important. In person meetings or tours while members of Congress are in their home districts, or even over Zoom, are critical during this time when so much policymaking is directly impacting the industry,” said ACA’s Vice President and Senior Counsel of Federal Advocacy Leah Dempsey.

How can you get involved? Where should you start?

ACA has resources available on how to join advocacy efforts and help educate lawmakers about the accounts receivable management (ARM) industry.

ACA’s advocacy outreach is an extremely important component of its ongoing efforts to help members succeed.

Connecting with legislators now is also an opportunity to stay in contact throughout the year, plan visits during other recesses and attend their local events for constituents. If a meeting isn’t available during this year’s work period, stay in contact with staff at your local representative’s office to schedule a meeting during the next break, likely at the end of the year. And be sure to visit your representative’s official website for background information and an updated list of their critical issues.

The current congressional calendar was planned at the beginning of the 117th Congress but could potentially change based on the Biden administration’s priorities.


The U.S. Senate recess is scheduled Aug. 9 through Sept. 10, while the House is not scheduled to come back until Sept. 20.

Check out the latest version of ACA’s advocacy book, which includes talking points on ACA and its strategy and research about ongoing topics important to the ARM industry, such as Reg F, call labeling and text blocking and Telephone Consumer Protection Act reform.

Members can familiarize themselves with these topics and use the booklet, in addition to guidance from ACA’s advocacy team, to prepare for meetings with legislators or regulators.

If you’re more comfortable with a phone or video meeting, or your federal or state representative is not hosting in-person meetings, ACA is also running a video campaign for members to share about their business and the work of the ARM industry.

Agency tours are a strong advocacy tool and allow ACA members to connect with their legislators and regulators. When we can’t do that in person, a video is a great option.

Try talking about how you started your career in the industry and sharing why the work you do is important to businesses, the economy and consumers. It’s also a great opportunity to dispel misperceptions people have about the industry and help inform people to change their views about debt collectors.

If community service is part of your company’s mission, you can share about your recent projects and goals for the year ahead. Describing how COVID-19 has impacted your company, clients and the consumers you work with is also important.

Read more about the campaign and how to share your videos here. Members American Profit Recovery and Debt Recovery Solutions of Ohio recently participated.

State Advocacy

State legislatures’ schedules and summer breaks may be even more uncertain than at the federal level, but the same ideas apply if you’re interested in advocating with your local representatives.

From January-June 2021, ACA and its state units identified and tracked more than 860 state-level bills on topics such as medical debt, garnishment and data privacy that would impact the ARM industry if enacted.

“In addition to lobbying for ARM industry priorities as legislation is introduced, our state legislative teams—led by more than 30 contract lobbyists—implemented new advocacy techniques to adapt to the various COVID-19 restrictions at state capitols and the remote nature of committee meetings, testimony and votes,” said Vice President of State Unit and Government Affairs Andrew Madden.

Much like at the federal level, activity at the state level is ongoing, so continuing to make the ARM industry’s voice heard on these issues is critical, Madden said.

Reaching out and connecting with lawmakers during legislative recesses is an outstanding approach to building relationships with lawmakers and regulators.

“Lawmakers rely on engaged industry professionals to educate them about the real-world impact of their decisions and the congressional and state recesses are the perfect time to connect,” Madden said.

For more information on state-level advocacy or joining your state unit, contact Madden at madden@acainternational.org or Dempsey at dempsey@acainternational.org.

ACA also recommends members join the weekly ACA Huddle webinar at 11 a.m. CDT Wednesdays. The ACA Huddle features advocacy, compliance and education updates as well as guest speakers.

On the next ACA Huddle, 11 a.m. CDT July 21, ACA CEO Mark Neeb and President Scott Purcell will highlight important updates from the Midyear Accomplishments Report for members.

The report celebrates ACA’s recent:

  • Federal and state advocacy successes
  • New education initiatives
  • Event pivots
  • Compliance achievements
  • Proactive efforts to combat litigious attorneys
  • And more!

Visit the U.S. House of Representatives’ and U.S. Senate websites and ACA’s Advocacy Resource Center for additional information on how to connect with your member of Congress. House and Senate calendars are available at congress.gov.

If you meet with your member of Congress during the summer recess, let us know by emailing the Communications team at comm@acainternational.org.


Follow ACA International on Twitter @ACAIntl and @acacollector, Facebook and request to join our LinkedIn group for news and event updates. ACA International members are welcome to submit news items for possible publication to comm@acainternational.org. Visit our publications page for news submission guidelines and subscriptions to ACA Daily, Collector magazine and Pulse.

Advertising is available for companies wishing to promote their products or services. Be sure to visit the ACA Events Calendar on the Education and Training page to view our listing of upcoming CORE Curriculum and Hot Topic seminars featuring critical educational opportunities for your company.


Subscribe to ACA Daily NEWSROOM

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