House Rules Committee Expecting Amendments on Service Member Protections in Appropriations Bill


The committee will meet Monday on amendments related to credit reporting and medical debt collection for service members and private student loan borrower protections. Editor’s note: This article is available for members only.

9/16/2021 10:30

Amendments to The National Defense Authorization Act (H.R. 4350) slated for discussion in the House Rules Committee Sept. 20 include consumer protections for service members and student loan borrowers and establishing a credit reporting ombudsman at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

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 the fiscal year, among other purposes.

The proposed amendments include:

  • To strengthen 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.)
  • Establish 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.)
  • Extend consumer credit protections to armed and uniformed active duty 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.)
  • Extend 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., and Al Green, D-Texas.)

ACA International is also awaiting confirmation on an amendment from U.S. Rep. Katie Porter, D-Calif., that is not in the base bill or in the submitted amendments. Porter’s amendment will “[allow] service members to have a private right of action in the event that credit reporting bureaus engage in misconduct related to free credit monitoring.”  

The House Rules Committee will meet on the appropriations bill and amendments at noon EST Sept. 20.

Similar proposals to these amendments were proposed in debt collection legislation in the 116th Congress and during the current 117th Congress, ACA previously reported.

In 2020, the Democrat-led House Financial Services Committee proposed nearly two-dozen bills that would have impacted ARM 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.

ACA has resources available on how to join advocacy efforts and help educate lawmakers about the ARM industry.

ACA also recommends that 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.

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