Beatty Bill Covers Consumers During Coronavirus Crisis
WASHINGTON, D.C.—U.S. Congresswoman Joyce Beatty (OH-03) recently introduced the Consumer Relief During COVID-19 Act, H.R. 7796. If enacted, the bill would prohibit creditors from taking certain actions to collect debt from a consumer during and 120 days after a national disaster or emergency. Specifically, H.R. 7796 forbids creditors from enforcing a debt through repossession, threat of action and/or wage garnishment, as well as commence an eviction for nonpayment, in addition to disconnect or terminate utility service. Additionally, a debt collector may not penalize consumers for nonpayment and must ensure an adequate repayment period once forbearance ends. Furthermore, the measure creates a credit facility at the Federal Reserve to make long-term, low-cost loans to debt collectors to cover documented financial losses.
“During these uncertain times, one thing is for certain: the COVID-19 Pandemic has impacted the lives and livelihood of everyone. So, as tens of millions of hardworking Americans and families are struggling to pay their bills and put food on the table—much less keep a roof over their heads—it is vital that Congress provide a level of economic security for our constituents,” Beatty said. “The Consumer Relief During COVID-19 Act will provide much-needed financial relief by ensuring that no one loses their home, car, utility service or the like in the interim because of this spiraling public health crisis or any future national disaster.” She added, “I urge my colleagues to support the bill and will work tirelessly to see that it or a similar proposal is included in any future COVID-19 response package.”
The Consumer Relief During COVID-19 Act has been referred to House Financial Services Committee and is awaiting further consideration. The bill is also backed by Chairwoman Maxine Waters (CA-43).