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Waters Opening Statement at Committee Markup of Bills to Protect Servicemembers and Prevent Predatory Debt Collection Practices

Today, Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-CA), Chairwoman of the House Financial Services Committee, gave the following opening statement at a full Committee markup of bills to help veterans experiencing homelessness, protect servicemembers from harassment by debt collectors, and crack down on predatory debt collection practices to help consumers and small businesses

As Prepared for Delivery

Good morning. Today this Committee will mark up nine bills.

This week we celebrated Veterans Day. As Members of Congress, we have a responsibility to ensure that our veterans receive the services and care that they need after their service to our nation ends.

Today we will consider H.R. 2398, a bill by Representative Peters to expand the eligibility for the Housing and Urban Development-Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing or HUD-VASH program, to veterans experiencing homelessness who have received an “other than honorable” discharge.

We must also ensure that our servicemembers are not harassed by predatory debt collectors. Today we will take up H.R. 5003, the Fair Debt Collection Practices for Servicemembers Act, a bill by Representative Dean that amends the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act to prohibit debt collectors from threatening servicemembers or their families to have a servicemember’s rank reduced, have their security clearance revoked, have them prosecuted under the Uniform Code of Military Justice, or communicating with a servicemember’s chain of command to locate a servicemember.

In addition, the Committee will consider several other bills at this markup to increase protections for consumers and small businesses against unfair or predatory debt collection practices. Those bills include:

H.R. 3490, the Small Business Lending Fairness Act, a bill by Representative Velázquez that would amend the Truth in Lending Act (TILA) to restrict the use of predatory small business loan contract clauses called “confessions of judgment.”

H.R. 3948, the Debt Collection Practices Harmonization Act, a bill by Representative Meeks that clarifies that private debt collectors who pursue debts such as municipal utility bills, tolls, traffic tickets, and court debts are subject to the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA).

H.R. 4403, the Stop Debt Collection Abuse Act, a bill by Representative Cleaver that extends the FDCPA’s protections as it relates to debt owed to a federal agency, limits the fees debt collectors can charge, and clarifies that debt buyers are subject to FDCPA.

H.R. 5001, the Non-Judicial Foreclosure Debt Collection Clarification Act, a bill by Representative Clay that reverses the recent Supreme Court decision in Obduskey versus McCarthy and Holthus LLP by amending the FDCPA to clarify that entities in non-judicial foreclosure proceedings are covered by the law.

H.R. 5013, the Small Business Fair Debt Collection Protection Act a bill by Representative Lawson that expands the FDCPA’s protections to cover small business loans, and;

H.R. 5021, the Ending Debt Collection Harassment Act, a bill by Representative Pressley that amends the FDCPA to prohibit a debt collector from contacting a consumer by email or text message without a consumer’s consent to be contacted electronically, and prohibits the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) from issuing any rules implementing the FDCPA that allow a debt collector to send unlimited email and text messages to a consumer.

In addition, we will mark up a bill from the other side of the aisle, H.R. 2445, the Self-Employed Mortgage Access Act, legislation introduced by Representative Emmer that requires the CFPB to update its regulations to better enable lenders to qualify would-be homeowners who have non-traditional sources of income.

I thank the Members for their outstanding work on these important measures.


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