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Committee Passes Legislation to Advance Racial Equity, Protect Consumers, and Improve Disclosures by Public Companies

Committee Passes Legislation to Advance Racial Equity, Protect Consumers, and Improve Disclosures by Public Companies




Washington, DC,
April 21, 2021



Today, the House Financial Services Committee passed eight bills, including legislation to advance racial and economic justice, promote equity in the financial system, ensure consumers are not exposed to abusive debt collection practices, and provide key material information to investors.

The bills passed by the Committee include.

  • The Shareholder Political Transparency Act (H.R. 1087), a bill by Representative Bill Foster (D-IL), which would require public companies to submit quarterly reports to both the SEC and investors detailing the amount, date, and nature of the company’s expenditures for political activities. The bill also requires public companies to disclose in their annual reports any political expenditures over $10,000 in the previous year as well as the nature and amount of any political expenditures the company plans to make in the upcoming year.

    The bill passed the Committee by a vote of 28-23.

  • The ESG Disclosure Simplification Act (H.R. 1187), a bill by Representative Juan Vargas (D-CA), which would require issuers to disclose certain environmental, social and governance (ESG) metrics to shareholders, the connection between those metrics and the issuer’s long term business strategy, and the method by which the issuer determines how ESG metrics impact its long term strategy.

    The bill passed the Committee by a vote of 28-22.

  • The Improving Corporate Governance Through Diversity Act (H.R. 1277), a bill by Representative Gregory Meeks (D-NY), which would require public companies to annually disclose the voluntarily, self-identified gender, race, ethnicity and veteran status of their board directors..

    The bill passed the Committee by a bipartisan voice vote.

  • The Diversity and Inclusion Data Accountability and Transparency Act (H.R. 2123), a bill by Representative Joyce Beatty (D-OH), Chairwoman of the Subcommittee on Diversity and Inclusion, which would require regulated entities to disclose diversity data, policies and practices to their respective federal financial regulators.

    The bill passed the Committee by a bipartisan vote of 30-23.

  • The Promoting Diversity and Inclusion in Banking Act (H.R. 2516), a bill by Representative Al Green (D-TX), which would require Federal banking regulators to include a diversity and inclusion component in the CAMELS rating system to evaluate how federally insured depository institutions are promoting diversity and inclusion.

    The bill passed the Committee by a vote of 30-23.

  • The Federal Reserve Racial and Economic Equity Act (H.R. 2543), a bill by Representative Maxine Waters (D-CA), would require the Federal Reserve to carry out its duties in a manner that supports the elimination of racial and ethnic disparities in employment, income, wealth, and access to affordable credit.

    The bill passed the Committee by a vote of 30-23.

  • The Comprehensive Debt Collection Improvement Act (H.R. 2547), a bill by Representative Maxine Waters (D-CA), which would strengthen protections for small business lending, ensure fair debt collection for servicemembers, advocate on behalf consumers with student and medical debt, end debt collection harassment and abuse, and create guardrails for consumers against private debt collectors. The comprehensive legislation to improve debt collection and protect consumers contains text similar to the following bills:
    • The Small Business Lending Fairness Act, a bill by Representative Nydia Velazquez (D-NY) which would amend the Truth in Lending Act (TILA) to restrict the use of confessions of judgment for small business owners, extending the protections that currently exist in consumer lending.
    • The Fair Debt Collection Practices for Servicemembers Act, a bill introduced by Representative Madeleine Dean (D-PA) to amend the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) to prohibit debt collectors from threatening a servicemember with reducing their rank, having their security clearance revoked, prosecuting them under the Uniform Code of Military Justice, or otherwise communicating with the commanding officer or any other senior officer in the chain of command above a servicemember regarding an outstanding debt.
    • The Private Loan Disability Discharge Act, a bill introduced by Representative Madeleine Dean (PA), which would amend TILA to require the discharge of private student loans in the case of permanent disability of the borrower, providing rights that already exist for federal student loan borrowers.
    • The Consumer Protections for Medical Debt Collections Act, a bill introduced by Representative Rashida Tlaib (D-MI), which would bar entities from collecting medical debt or reporting it to a consumer reporting agency without giving a consumer notice about their rights under FDCPA and Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) related to that debt, including a minimum one-year delay before adverse information is reported to a consumer reporting agency. It would also bar reporting of adverse information relating to medical debt arising from medically necessary procedures.
    • The Ending Debt Collection Harassment Act, a bill introduced by Representative Ayanna Pressley (D-MA), which would amend the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) to prohibit a debt collector from contacting a consumer by email or text message without a consumer’s consent to be contacted electronically.
    • The Stop Debt Collection Abuse Act, a bill introduced by Representative Emanuel Cleaver (D-MO) which would extend FDCPA protections as it relates to debt owed to a federal agency, and it would limit the fees debt collectors can charge. Additionally, it requires the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to conduct a study into the use of third party debt collectors by government agencies.
    • The Debt Collection Practices Harmonization Act, a bill introduced by Representative Gregory Meeks (D-NY) which would expand the definition of debt covered under the FDCPA to include money owed to a state or local government, clarifying that private debt collectors who pursue debts such as municipal utility bills, tolls, traffic tickets, and court debts are subject to the FDCPA. It also updates monetary penalties for inflation and clarifies that courts can award injunctive relief, as well as add protections to consumers affected by national disasters.
    • The Non-Judicial Foreclosure Debt Collection Clarification Act, a bill introduced by Representative Jake Auchincloss (D-MA), which would reverse the recent Supreme Court decision in Obduskey v. McCarthy and Holthus LLP by amending FDCPA to clarify that entities in non-judicial foreclosure proceedings are covered by the statute.

The bill passed the Committee by a vote of 30-23.

The Committee also passed two resolutions by unanimous consent. These include:

  • A resolution establishing the House Committee on Financial Services Task Force on Financial Technology to build on its work to review issues at the intersection of finance and emerging technologies from the 116th Congress. The Chair of the Task Force will continue to be Representative Stephen Lynch (D-MA) and the Ranking Member will be Representative Tom Emmer (D-MN).
  • A resolution establishing the House Committee on Financial Services Task Force on Artificial Intelligence to build on its work to review the use of artificial intelligence by financial institutions and other market participants from the 116th Congress. The Chair of the Task Force will continue to be Representative Bill Foster (D-IL) and the Ranking Member will be Representative Anthony Gonzalez (R-OH).

The Committee also adopted Budget Views and Estimates for Fiscal Year 2022. The Committee’s budget views were adopted by a vote of 30-23. Democrats accepted one amendment to the budget views offered by Republicans.

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