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Heinrich, Luján, Finance Chairman Wyden Introduce Legislation To End Paycheck Protection Program Abuse By Predatory Debt Collectors

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.), Ben Ray Luján (D-N.M.), and Ron Wyden (D-Wis.) introduced legislation to prevent predatory debt collectors from accessing funding through the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). 

The Ceasing Underserved Relief Benefits for Debt Collectors Act--or 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. 

“It is unconscionable that predatory debt collectors have abused the Paycheck Protection Program – taking funds that are intended to help small businesses stay afloat during the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Heinrich. “It’s time to put an end to this abuse, and keep these dollars flowing to small businesses that need them most.” 

"The Paycheck Protection Program was created as a lifeline for America's small businesses. Help should go to those who need it most – not to unscrupulous companies that harass and intimidate consumers and small business owners to make a profit,” said Luján. “I am proud to cosponsor this legislation to ensure federal relief goes to those who need and deserve it and not those who want to game the system.” 

“The goal of the Paycheck Protection Program was to help small businesses stay afloat, not pad the pockets of predatory debt collectors exploiting struggling Americans during this crisis. Our bill would ensure the program helps those Congress intended to help," said Wyden, Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee. 

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. This bill would prevent federal forgivable loan dollars from going to predatory debt collectors that go after New Mexicans. 

“I am grateful for Senator Heinrich and his leadership in advancing this critical legislation to protect consumers; all federal and state leaders must work together to ensure that New Mexican families have economic security,” said New Mexico Attorney General Hector Balderas. 

The legislation was also introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives by U.S. Representatives Suzanne Bonamici (D-Ore.) and Marie Newman (D-Ill.), and is co-sponsored by U.S. Representatives Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.), Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.), Steve Cohen (D-Tenn.), Jim Cooper (D-Tenn.), Jesús “Chuy” García (D-Ill.), Jahana Hayes (D-Conn.), Mark Takano (D-Calif.), and Nikema Williams (D-Ga.). 

Read the full text of the bill here.