Senate Democrats introduce bill to shield stimulus checks from debt collectors
Senate Democrats introduced a bill on Wednesday that would shield $1,400 stimulus payments to Americans from debt collectors.
Sens. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), chairman of the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee; Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), chairman of the Senate Finance Committee; Bob Menendez (D-N.J.); and Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) introduced the bill as the stimulus checks are being sent out to Americans across the country.
The payments were a pivotal part of the American Rescue Plan, President Biden’s $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief bill that was passed in order to help ease some of the burden put on citizens from the pandemic.
The bill from the group of Senate Democrats is being introduced so private debt collectors are not able to take the $1,400 from a person who owes them money.
“We passed the American Rescue Plan to put money in people’s pockets so they can pay their bills, not to line the pockets of predatory private debt collectors. Our bill would mean American workers and their families don’t have to worry their stimulus checks will be gobbled up by financial predators, and the House should pass it immediately,” Brown said.
Wyden announced even before the stimulus package was passed through Congress that he would introduce a bill to block debt collectors from taking stimulus checks.
“Relief payments are intended for struggling families, not predatory private debt collectors. Our legislation would ensure help gets to the folks who need it to pay rent and buy groceries. Senate Republicans supported this critical protection in the December relief package, and we hope to pass our bill right away,” Wyden said in the announcement of the bill.
The proposal is similar to a previous bill passed last year that sought to block debt collectors from taking a person’s stimulus check. That bill was passed after Congress adopted the CARES Act, the first major coronavirus relief bill, which authorized payments for most Americans of up to $1,200 per adult.