The Senate on Wednesday unanimously approved a $2.2 trillion relief package to help the economy through the coronavirus pandemic, and other than establishing a prohibition against the collection of student loans, the bill does nothing else to restrict companies in the collection industry from continuing to operate.
A copy of the bill, obtained via The Wall Street Journal, can be accessed by clicking here.
“A fight has arrived on our shores,” said Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell [R-Ky.]. “We did not seek it. We did not want it. But now, we are going to win it.”
Individuals with student loans will be exempt from having to make payments on those loans through Sept. 30 (starting on page 333), and no interest will be allowed to accrue on the loans during that period. Collectors are also to treat the loans as if a payment was made for the purposes of credit reporting. All involuntary collection efforts, including wage garnishment and seizing income tax refunds are also suspended until Sept. 30.
The Department of Education has been charged with notifying borrowers about the suspension, and, starting in August, begin a campaign to notify borrowers when their payments are scheduled to resume.
The House of Representatives is expected to vote — and approve — the bill tomorrow. President Trump has said he would sign the bill as soon as he receives it.
Among some of the other details included in the package are:
- $500 billion for a business liquidity program, which would be managed by the Federal Reserve
- $367 billion in small business loans
- $100 billion in new funding for hospitals
- $150 billion in funding for state and local governments
- $1,200 to each American who makes up to $75,000 or married couples who make $150,000
- Extending unemployment insurance by an additional 13 weeks and include four months of enhanced benefits
The bill also address credit reporting (starting on page 564). If a furnisher makes an accommodation to an individual because that individual has been affected by the coronavirus pandemic in some way, the account in question should continue to be reported however it was prior to the accommodation being made. This does not apply to charged-off debts.