The committee passed amendments related to credit reporting and medical debt collection for service members and private student loans. Editor’s note: This article is available for members only.
The National Defense Authorization Act (H.R. 4350) is expected to pass in the U.S. House of Representatives with bipartisan support. Meanwhile, several amendments to the bill, discussed in the House Rules Committee Sept. 20, were passed Wednesday, including new credit reporting requirements for service members and student loan borrowers, and establishing a credit reporting ombudsman at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. ACA is working with a financial services industry coalition to advocate against these misguided amendments.
H.R. 4350, an appropriations bill for fiscal year 2022, would support military activities of the Department of Defense and military construction, and prescribe military personnel strengths for such fiscal year, among other purposes.
It is expected to pass in the House.
Passed amendments include:
- Strengthens service member consumer protections regarding medical debt collections and credit reporting, including prohibiting the collection of medical debt for the first two years and prohibiting debt arising from medically necessary procedures from ever appearing on service member credit reports. (U.S. Rep. Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich.)
- Establishes a credit reporting ombudsman at the CFPB to assist service members and veterans in resolving credit reporting errors not resolved in a timely manner by a credit reporting agency. The amendment would also enhance oversight of consumer reporting agencies and reporting any violations of the law in relation to service members and veterans. (U.S. Rep. Josh Gottheimer, D-N.J.)
- Extends consumer credit protections to active duty armed and uniformed service members to dispute adverse actions or inaction on their credit report that occurred while they were in a combat zone, aboard a U.S. vessel, or away from their usual duty stations. (U.S. Rep. Linda Sánchez, D-Calif.)
- Extends Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act student loan protections for private student loan borrowers who were left out of the act, including a pause in borrower payment obligations, accrual of interest, negative credit reporting and debt collection. Extend private student loan protections until Sept. 30, 2023. (U.S. Reps. Alma Adams. D-N.C., Al Green, D-Texas.)
Similar proposals to those in these amendments were proposed in debt collection legislation in the 116th Congress and during the current 117th Congress, ACA previously reported.
The Rules Committee also heard an amendment Monday from U.S. Rep. Patrick McHenry, R-N.C., to create a joint Commodity Futures Trading Commission/Securities Exchange Commission cryptocurrency working group, according to a summary of the hearing.
Bringing more House Financial Services Committee battles to the Rules Committee, U.S. Rep. Brad Sherman, D-Calif., stated his opposition to McHenry’s amendment, citing “Know Your Customer,” “Anti-Money Laundering,” and trafficking concerns.
The Rules Committee was offered more than 900 amendments to H.R. 4350. U.S. Rep. Adam Smith, D-Wash., chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, said during the markup that Congress is exercising appropriate Department of Defense oversight and balancing Executive Branch authority, which is reflected in the legislation, and that passage is important.
In 2020, the Democrat-led House Financial Services Committee proposed nearly two-dozen bills that would have impacted accounts receivable management industry operations, ACA previously reported. The House version of the CARES Act and the Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions Act would have also severely restricted the ability of ACA members to operate and continue to communicate with consumers.
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