March 18, 2021

Van Hollen, Brown, Colleagues Slam Senate Republicans for Blocking Bill to Protect Relief Checks from Debt Collectors

Today, U.S. Senator Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), a member of the U.S. Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs joined Committee Chairman Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Senate Finance Committee Chairman Ron Wyden (D-OR), and Bob Menendez (D-NJ) in slamming Senate Republicans for blocking their legislation to protect relief checks provided in President Biden’s American Rescue Plan from garnishment by private debt collectors.

“While families struggle to put food on the table and pay their bills, it’s unconscionable that Senate Republicans have blocked our efforts to prevent direct payments for Americans from being seized by private debt collectors and predatory lenders. Many are relying on these payments to help make ends meet. Republicans were on board with this common-sense measure in December – blocking it now is pure partisan obstructionism,” said Senator Van Hollen.  

“We passed the American Rescue Plan to put money in people’s pockets so they can pay their bills, buy groceries and spend money in local businesses to get our economy moving – we did not pass it so that private debt collectors could enrich themselves,” said Senator Brown. “This vote was about who’s side you’re on, and Senate Republicans chose to protect debt collectors instead of workers and their families. We will not stop fighting to protect Americans’ stimulus checks.”

“Families are hanging on by a thread, but Senate Republicans blocked protections against their relief payments from being seized to pay credit card and medical debt. It’s shameful,” said Senator Wyden. “Senate Republicans fully supported protections against predatory private debt collectors in the December relief package. Families’ financial situations haven’t changed. The only thing that’s changed is Donald Trump is out of office and Senate Republicans are again running their obstruction playbook.” 

“What planet are Republicans living on?  Because here, on Earth, millions of families struggling to get by are finally getting a lifeline to help pay rent or a mortgage and put food on the table,” said Senator. Menendez. “We didn’t fight for stimulus checks so that predatory debt collectors could sweep in and swipe these funds to line their own pockets. Not only did every single Republican oppose providing $1,400 in relief to Americans in real need, now they want to hand over that money to debt collectors.  Shameful.  When Republicans had a chance to protect hard working people from being preyed upon, they instead chose to protect the predators.”