House Passes Resolution Encouraging Help for Consumers Impacted by Government Shutdown

Resolution from Financial Services Committee Chair Maxine Waters focused on businesses in financial services industries.

1/31/2019 8:00 AM

House Passes Resolution Encouraging Help for Consumers Impacted by Government Shutdown

The U.S. House of Representatives passed a resolution from U.S. Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif., chair of the House Financial Services Committee, to encourage financial institutions, consumer reporting agencies, and other entities to do what they can to help consumers, including federal employees, contractors, small businesses and other individuals affected by the Trump shutdown.

The House passed the resolution (H. Res. 77) by voice vote Tuesday, a day after the partial government shutdown ended.

Earlier this month, Waters penned a letter to leaders at financial services industry trade associations and credit bureaus seeking information about their efforts to help consumers impacted by the shutdown. ACA International responded to the letter, thanking House Financial Services Committee leadership for the recognition that problematic consequences can result from not addressing unpaid debt. ACA also urged the committee to consider the importance of an ongoing dialogue with consumers facing financial hardship.

Waters also addressed members of Congress on the House floor before the vote the resolution.

Given the financial hardship and emotional distress these consumers face through no fault of their own, I introduced H. Res. 77 to send a strong message to the financial industry that they should do what they can to help these innocent consumers,” Waters said, according to a news release. “Specifically, the resolution expresses the sense of Congress that financial institutions and other entities should work proactively to help all consumers affected by the shutdown. This includes waiving fees, ceasing evictions and foreclosures, and otherwise providing forbearance for any affected consumer, as well as taking steps to ensure their creditworthiness is not impaired because of the shutdown.”

In other news, members of Congress on both sides of the aisle are also seeking legislation to prevent a repeat of a government shutdown should there be an impasse on spending bills.

The Hill reports U.S. Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va., introduced legislation to keep funding in place at current levels if lawmakers miss a deadline to pass spending bills. U.S. Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, proposed similar legislation with a caveat that funding would decline by 1 percent after 120 days and after each 90-day period if spending bills aren’t approved, according to the article.

The Congressional Budget Office said in a report Monday that the shutdown cost the U.S. economy an estimated $11 billion, with $3 billion expected to be permanently lost even after workers receive back pay and services return to normal, according to The Hill.

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