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Republican Senator Block Bills to Stop Debt Collectors From Seizing Stimulus Checks

Republican Senator Block Bills to Stop Debt Collectors From Seizing Stimulus Checks

More than 90 million Americans have already received their $1,400 economic stimulus payments, however, many of those people have had a significant portion of their check garnished by debt collectors because of how the United States Senate passed the American Recovery Plan Act of 2021.

Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Under reconciliation, a provision preventing such seizures was not allowed to be included. Previously, Congress enacted measures to stop that from happening. But not this time.

On Thursday, Senator Pat Toomey (R-PA) objected to a measure that would have protected recipients’ desperately needed money.

Democratic Senators Sherrod Brown of Ohio and Ron Wyden of Oregon attempted to pass a bill via unanimous consent.

“If the Senate doesn’t pass this bill, predatory debt collectors will continue to seize relief payments for anything from credit card payments to medical debt,” Wyden said.

Toomey killed it, demonstrating that there is no low to the gutter in which the GOP will not crawl to screw over their constituents.

“These payments have already gone out the door. The garnishment happens automatically. It’s already happened!” said Toomey.

The Huffington Post‘s Arthur Delaney reported that Toomey explicitly sided with debt collectors over taxpayers to stick it to Democrats:

Congress blocked debt collectors from seizing the $600 checks authorized by the December relief bill, but Democrats said the Senate parliamentarian disallowed similar protections to be used in the special budget process Democrats used to pass the American Rescue Plan with only 50 votes earlier this month.

Toomey said it was Democrats’ fault that the bill lacked the protections, since they should have compromised with Republicans and passed a spending bill that could have gotten 60 votes in the Senate.

Toomey also said debt collectors are merely pursuing ‘valid legal claims’ against people who ‘owe money to someone else and that someone else has gone to court, and it’s been adjudicated.

The bill Toomey blocked would have prevented garnishments by telling the IRS to issue deposits with a signal to banks that they should not honor court orders to hand the money over.

Delaney’s analysis continued on Twitter.

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Brown, meanwhile, told HuffPost that “we will keep trying” to stop the predatory practice so that the millions of Americans who have not yet gotten their checks will receive full payments.


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