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House Committee Passes Eight Bills, Five Related to Debt Collection

The House Financial Services Committee on Thursday passed eight bills, including five that relate to debt collection or the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act.

The bills now move to the entire House of Representatives for consideration.

Five of the bills were passed by votes of 31-23, which represent the number of Democrats and the number of Republicans on the Financial Services Committee. The other three bills were all passed unanimously, showing strong bipartisan support.

Among the three bills that were passed unanimously were two related to debt collection:

  • The Stop Debt Collection Abuse Act (H.R. 4403), a bill by Rep. Emanuel Cleaver [D-Mo.], Chairman of the Subcommittee on National Security, International Development and Monetary Policy, that extends the FDCPA’s protections as it relates to debt owed to a federal agency, limits the fees debt collectors can charge, and clarifies that debt buyers are subject to FDCPA.
  • The Fair Debt Collection Practices for Servicemembers Act (H.R. 5003), a bill by Rep. Madeleine Dean [D-Pa.] that amends the FDCPA to prohibit debt collectors from threatening servicemembers or their families to have a servicemember’s rank reduced, have their security clearance revoked, have them prosecuted under the Uniform Code of Military Justice, or communicating with a servicemember’s chain of command to locate a servicemember.

Among the bills that were passed along party lines were:

  • The Ending Debt Collection Harassment Act of 2019 (H.R. 5021), a bill by Rep. Ayanna Pressley [D-Mass.], to amend the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) to prohibit a debt collector from contacting a consumer by email or text message without a consumer’s consent to be contacted electronically, and prohibits the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) from issuing any rules implementing the FDCPA that allow a debt collector to send unlimited email and text messages to a consumer.
  • The Small Business Fair Debt Collection Protection Act (H.R. 5013), a bill by Rep. Al Lawson [D-Fla.] that expands the FDCPA’s protections to cover small business loans.
  • The Debt Collection Practices Harmonization Act (H.R. 3948), a bill by Rep. Gregory Meeks [D-N.Y.], Chairman of the Subcommittee on Consumer Protection and Financial Institutions, that clarifies that private debt collectors who pursue debts such as municipal utility bills, tolls, traffic tickets, and court debts are subject to the FDCPA.

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