The House Financial Services Committee (HFSC) will hold its first markup of the 117th Congress on April 20, 2021. We expect a focus on budget views and estimates and for the Committee to reauthorize the FinTech and Artificial Intelligence Task Forces. HEROES Act debt collection moratorium bills are not currently part of the anticipated legislative package they will markup.
Leading up to the markup HFSC held a hearing on March 11, 2021. At this hearing some additional consumer protection/debt collection-focused bills (mainly policies to help consumers during the pandemic) were discussed and potentially could be added to this scheduled markup in April. Many of these are the same bills that appeared as part of the HEROES Act in 2020. In 2020 these bills made it through the House but were not picked up by the Senate.
It is important to note that since many Members of the House are already on the record regarding these bills, if any of these bills were included in the markup they would likely garner the same votes as they did the first time they were presented.
However, we continue to reach out to Members of Congress, Committee Leadership and Congressional staff to educate them on the negative unintended consequences that would result from these proposed moratorium bills being enacted into law. Our messaging on Capitol Hill around how much has changed since March 2020 has resonated. Vaccines have been developed and are being administered, State Courts and offices are re-opening, three rounds of stimulus payments have been issued, CFPB has issued final debt collection rules and in general the country as a whole is focusing on getting back to a semblance of normalcy.
This messaging and our advocacy are having an impact. While we have learnt that Democrats intend to package certain debt collection bills together, the debt collection moratorium bills that were originally included in the HEROES Act are currently NOT part of that package.
Bills can still be added so we do not want to declare victory yet, but this is a very positive development.
Of course, we must keep in mind that even if they were to pass these negative Bills in the House, it would strictly be a partisan exercise and would not likely even make it to the Senate floor.
We remain vigilant in our advocacy efforts and look forward to having many of you join us April 27-28 for Hill Day.
Please do not hesitate to reach out to Nathan Willner at [email protected] with any questions or comments you may have regarding NCBA’s advocacy efforts.