U.S. Senate Seeks Economic Relief in HEALS Act


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GOP package would provide another round of stimulus payments and Paycheck Protection Program Loans. ACA has a summary of the bill in comparison to the HEROES Act. Editor’s note: This article is available for members only.

7/28/2020 11:00

The U.S. Senate GOP has issued its next economic relief proposal in response to the COVID-19 pandemic: The Health, Economic Assistance, Liability Protection and Schools (HEALS Act). Read ACA International's summary comparing the HEALS Act and the Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions (HEROES) Act here.

Funding for the bill is $1 trillion, including another round of stimulus payments similar to those from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. Most of the harmful sections in the U.S. House of Representatives’ HEROES Act concerning debt collection were not included in this first draft from the Senate, an effort ACA International has focused its advocacy on. ACA has been educating Congress about why many of the HEROES Act attempts to limit collection activities are misguided and appreciates that this was recognized by the Senate.

Like previous proposals in response to COVID-19, the HEALS Act would place parameters around the ability of banks to garnish those stimulus payments.

ACA has been working closely with Senate staff to educate them that the debt collection industry is not actively targeting stimulus checks. The press surrounding this issue also continues to conflate legal terms such as bank levies versus wage garnishments. There is also a section that could have some impact on student loan collections.

The HEALS Act would also provide additional funding for small-business loans under the Paycheck Protection Program.

The Senate and House will have to reach an agreement on the next relief bill and negotiations are expected to be ongoing over the next two weeks. The Senate will be on recess for a district work period starting Aug. 10 through Labor Day weekend and the House is also scheduled for a district work period.

Meanwhile, the HEROES ACT (H.R. 6800) was recently revisited in a House Financial Services Committee hearing.

ACA is continuing to review the HEALS Act bill text to provide updates for members.

For more information on how the ACA Licensing staff can assist with your licensing needs, please contact us at [email protected]  or call (952) 926-6547.

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