WARREN-MALONEY AMENDMENT TO PROTECT SERVICEMEMBERS FROM PREDATORY DEBT COLLECTORS PASSES SENATE
Two months after an amendment to protect servicemembers from being harassed by debt collectors passed as part of the House version of the defense bill, Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and Representative Sean Patrick Maloney (D-NY) announced that an identical version of the amendment passed in the Senate. The Protecting Servicemembers from Debt Collectors Act, attached as an amendment to both versions of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), would prevent predatory debt collectors from contacting servicemembers’ superior officers in attempt to collect payment.
“It’s good news for military families that this legislation passed the Senate,” Senator Warren said. “The predatory debt collection practices identified by the CFPB are outrageous. That’s why I worked with Rep. Maloney to get this legislation passed so that DOD will update its policies and strengthen servicemember protections.”
“I want to thank Senator Warren for her leadership in the Senate and partnering with me to get this done,” said Rep. Maloney. “Our servicemembers shouldn’t have to worry about debt collectors calling their superiors and getting them in trouble at work – that wouldn’t fly in the private sector and it shouldn’t be allowed in our military.”
After a 2016 report from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s Office of Servicemember Affairs found that an alarming number of members of the armed services were targets of predatory debt collection methods, Rep. Maloney authored the Protecting Servicemembers from Debt Collectors Act to ensure that the Department of Defense provides clear protections for servicemembers from these predatory practices. The report pointed to the fact that, of all of their complaints received for the year, a shocking 46 percent of complaints from servicemembers were regarding debt collection practices. Last year, Rep. Maloney’s legislation was included in the FY 2017 NDAA and passed the House but was not passed by the Senate. In July, Maloney announced that the provision passed as part of the House version of the NDAA along with his Disabled Veterans Red Tape Reduction Act of 2017. Senator Warren’s leadership in Senate proceedings ensured that the amendment would pass the Senate version of the bill.