Bonamici, Newman Introduce Bill to End Use of Paycheck Protection Program by Predatory Debt Collectors
WASHINGTON, DC [04/01/21] – Today Congresswomen Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR) and Marie Newman (D-IL) introduced legislation to prevent predatory debt collectors from accessing funding through the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP).
The Ceasing Undeserved Relief Benefits for Debt Collectors Act (CURB Debt Collectors Act) would prevent debt collectors that have committed violations of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act from accessing PPP forgivable loans. Debt collectors, including firms that are known to have violated consumers’ rights, have received millions of dollars in PPP funding.
“The Paycheck Protection Program was designed to provide a lifeline to the many small business owners who are trying hard to keep their businesses afloat during the pandemic,” said Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici. “It is unacceptable that predatory debt collectors have been able to take advantage of this program, diverting funding away from small businesses that desperately need help during this economic crisis. The CURB Debt Collectors Act will put an end to this exploitative practice.”
"Throughout this pandemic, we've seen how predatory debt collectors and lenders have taken advantage of this economic crisis by collecting PPP loans that are intended for America's small businesses, who need the relief and support the most," said Congresswoman Marie Newman. "With this legislation, we are ensuring that predatory debt collectors who have violated the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act are barred from ever receiving PPP loans. I'm proud to co-lead this legislation so that we can further ensure relief is going towards local restaurants, ma-and-pop shops, and the smallest of America's small businesses."
During the pandemic, many small businesses have faced challenges trying to access relief programs, and consumers have struggled with unfair tactics by abusive collectors. The CURB Debt Collectors Act can help businessowners and consumers by making sure relief dollars go to local entrepreneurs instead of to unscrupulous collection agencies.
The full text of the CURB Debt Collectors Act can be found here. The legislation was co-sponsored by Representatives Jerry Nadler (D-NY), Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), Steve Cohen (D-TN), Jim Cooper (D-TN), Jesús “Chuy” García (D-IL), Jahana Hayes (D-CT), Mark Takano (D-CA), and Nikema Williams (D-GA).
Bonamici, a former consumer protection attorney at the Federal Trade Commission, has long advocated for increased protections against predatory debt collectors. She recently reintroduced the SCAM Debt Act, which would increase protections for consumers against debt collectors that use misleading or incomplete allegations to try to convince people to pay debts they do not legally owe.