Wyden to offer bill to shield $1,400 checks from private debt collectors

Senate Finance Committee Chairman Ron WydenRonald (Ron) Lee WydenSenate Democrats press administration on human rights abuses in Philippines The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Jan. 6 probe, infrastructure to dominate week Democrats brace for slog on Biden's spending plan MORE (D-Ore.) said Tuesday that he plans to introduce legislation to prevent the $1,400 direct payments in Democrats' coronavirus relief package from being seized by private debt collectors.

"While Democrats intend to protect the third payment from private debt collectors, Senate rules did not allow us to include that protection in the American Rescue Plan," Wyden said in a statement. "I will be introducing standalone legislation to ensure families receive their much-needed relief payments."

Direct payments of up to $1,400 per person are a key part of the $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package that passed the Senate over the weekend. Democrats say the payments will help people who are struggling financially because of the pandemic cover important expenses.

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The Senate passed the coronavirus relief package on Saturday using the budget reconciliation process so that the chamber could approve the measure with a simple majority vote. Under Senate rules, reconciliation bills can't include provisions that don't have an impact on the federal budget.

The House is expected to pass the relief package on Wednesday, and President BidenJoe BidenTrump endorses Ken Paxton over George P. Bush in Texas attorney general race GOP lawmakers request Cuba meeting with Biden For families, sending money home to Cuba shouldn't be a political football MORE is expected to sign it shortly thereafter.

Wyden said he hopes that his forthcoming bill to prevent private debt collectors from seizing any $1,400 direct payments will get bipartisan support.

"Last year, Democrats and Republicans joined together to shield previous relief payments, and I would hope that Senate Republicans again support ensuring families receive the $1,400 they need to pay rent and buy groceries," he said.