March 18,2021

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Wyden Joins Brown on Senate Floor to Protect $1,400 Relief Payments from Predatory Private Debt Collectors

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Mr. President. I rise in support of the legislation offered by Senator Brown and myself to protect $1,400 relief payments from being garnished by predatory private debt collectors. Millions of American families are hanging on by a thread. They are counting on these payments to pay rent and buy groceries.

Now, Senator Brown and I wanted to include these protections in the American Rescue Plan—just like was done in the December relief bill—but Senate rules didn’t allow it. If the Senate doesn’t pass this bill, predatory debt collectors will continue to seize relief payments for everything from credit card to medical debt.

I’d urge my Republican colleagues to consider this scenario. Two parents who have lost their jobs can’t pay the rent because their relief check has been seized to cover a child’s outstanding hospital bills. That’s what will happen if the Senate doesn’t pass this bill today.

In my view, this one’s cut and dry. You’re either with those working families who desperately need the help during this crisis, or you’re with private debt collectors reaching their hands into those families’ pockets.

As I mentioned, these protections were included in the December package, with Republicans fully supporting them. Families’ financial situations haven’t changed so I hope that my Republican colleagues would continue to support this commonsense policy. Thank you Mr. President.