Updated: Feb 21, 2021
PROGRESSIVE BILLS PENDING IN CONGRESS RIGHT NOW
CAMPAIGN PLEDGES THAT COULD BECOME LAWS
Category #1 – Student Loan Debt Name of Bill: Student Loan Borrowers' Bill of Rights Act of 2019
Bill No.: H.R. 3027 Primary Sponsor: Rep. Frederica Wilson (D, FL) Details of the Bill: This bill allows federal or private student loans to be discharged in bankruptcy cases. In addition, the bill protects borrowers from efforts to collect student loan debt from (1) offsets of Social Security, railroad retirement, or black lung benefits; (2) wage garnishment; or (3) offsets of tax refunds. The bill amends the Internal Revenue Code to (1) exclude discharged student loan debt from an individual's gross income, and (2) allow distributions from qualified tuition programs (known as 529 plans) to be used for student loan payments. The bill also makes Parent Plus loans eligible for income-based repayment plans. Finally, the bill prohibits evidence of an individual's default on a federal student loan from being used (1) in proceedings involving the individual's professional or vocational license, or (2) to prohibit the individual from accessing transcripts and degrees. Date Introduced: 5-24-2019 Current Status:: Referred to Committee
Name of Bill: Student Debt Cancellation Act of 2019 Bill No: H. R . 3448 Primary Sponsor Rep. Ilhan Omar (D, MN) Details of the Bill: This bill calls for the Secretary of Education to forgive the outstanding balance of interest and principal due on all eligible Federal student loans.
Forgiveness would also extend to loans made to a parent borrower on behalf of a dependent student. The Secretary of the Treasury, would also purchase --and then forgive – any outstanding interest and principal due on private student loans. : In addition: The amount of a borrower’s Federal Direct Forgiveness Loans forgiven under this section would not be included in the gross income of the borrower. Date Introduced: 6-24-2019 Current Status: Referred to Committee
Name of Bill: College Affordability Act
Bill Number: H. R. 4674 Primary Sponsor: Rep. Bobby Scott, (D, VA.) Details of the bill: This bill revises financial aid programs, including to: (1) increase the maximum federal Pell Grant award (2) provide incentives for states to fund public institutions of higher education (IHEs), and
(3) increase and make permanent funding for minority-serving IHEs. The bill also revises federal student loan programs, and would: (1) replace existing student loan repayment plans with one income-based repayment plan and one fixed repayment plan. (2) allow existing borrowers to lower their payments by switching to the new plans. (3) expand public service loan forgiveness programs (e.g., TEACH grants) and create appeal processes for denied applications. . Date Introduced 10/15/2019
Current Status: Ordered to be Amended Name of Bill: Students Not Profits Act of 2019 Bill Number: S. 2960 Primary Sponsor: Sen. Sherrod Brown (D, OH) Details of the Bill: This bill makes certain institutions of higher education (IHEs) ineligible to receive federal financial student assistance. Specifically, the bill makes for-profit institutions of higher education ineligible to receive such assistance. The bill also makes ineligible any institution that has (1) filed for bankruptcy; (2) been convicted of, or pled nolo contendere or guilty to, a crime involving federal student aid; (3) committed fraud, substantial misrepresentation, or false certification involving federal student aid; or (4) executive officers who were previously employed at an institution receiving federal student aid that closed. Date Introduced: 10/17/2019 Current Status: Referred to Committee Category #2 Health Care Reform
Name of Bill: Prescription Drug Price Relief Act of 2019 Bill Number: S. 102 Sponsor: Sen. Bernie Sanders (D, VT) Details of the Bill:
This bill is intended to lower prescription drug prices for patients in the United States, by ending government-granted monopolies for manufacturers who charge drug prices that are higher than the median prices at which the drugs are available in other countries. The bill requires the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to review at least annually all brand-name drugs for excessive pricing; HHS must also review prices upon petition. If any such drugs are found to be excessively priced, HHS must (1) void any government-granted exclusivity; (2) issue open, nonexclusive licenses for the drugs; and (3) expedite the review of corresponding applications for generic drugs and biosimilar products. HHS must also create a public database with its determinations for each drug. Under the bill, a price is considered excessive if the domestic average manufacturing price exceeds the median price for the drug in Canada, the United Kingdom, Germany, France, and Japan Date Introduced: 1/11/2019 Current Status: Referred to Committee Name of Bill: Preserve Access to Affordable Generics and Biosimilars Act Bill Number: S. 64 Primary Sponsor: Amy Klobuchar, (D, MN) Details of the Bill: It would prohibit brand name drug companies from compensating generic drug companies to delay the entry of a generic drug into the market, and to prohibit biological product manufacturers from compensating companies to delay the entry of biosimilar products and interchangeable biological products. Date Introduced: 01/19/2019 Current Status: Referred to Committee Name of Bill: Family Coverage Act Bill Number: S. 1935 Primary Sponsor: Sen. Sherrod Brown (D, OH) Details of the Bill: Under current law, an employee may be eligible for premium assistance tax credits, only if the employee's required contribution for an individual plan exceeds 9.5% of household income, This is generally described as the ‘family glitch’ in the ACA, affecting millions.) The bill specifies that, with respect to an employee's family members who are eligible to enroll in the plan, affordability must be determined using the cost of family coverage rather than individual coverage.
Date Introduced: 06/20/2019 Current Status: Referred to committee Note: Instead of new legislation, some experts believe a Biden administration could simply rewrite the IRS regulation that created the glitch and make the affected families people eligible for subsidized coverage.
Name of Bill: Ban Surprise Billing Act
Bill Number.: S. 5800 Primary Sponsor: Bobby Scott (D, VA) Details of the Bill: The bill would require out-of-network providers to disclose, at the time of the appointment, their out-of-network status and the estimated charges for the relevant services and to obtain the patients’ consent at least 24 hours before the services are furnished.
Where a provider either fails to or cannot comply with the disclosure and consent requirements (e.g., in the case of same-day emergency service), the proposals would have limited the patients’ responsibility to the in-network cost-sharing amount. Date Introduced: 02/11/2020 Current Status: Referred to Committee Important Note: Congress included legislation to control surprise medical billing in the COVID-19 year-end 2020 relief package. The in-force legislation would limit patient liability for emergency medical services at out-of-network (OON) facilities to their in-network deductible and cost-sharing. Similarly, patients who receive medical care from an OON provider at an in-network facility would also have their costs limited to in-network rates. The legislation would also clarify that OON services rendered in accordance with the above provisions must be counted toward the patient’s in-network deductible. OON providers would only be allowed to balance bill patients in cases where the provider gave notice at least 72 hours in advance of delivering care that it would be considered OON, gave the patient an estimate of the charges that they would incur, and the patient consented to receive OON treatment.
Name of Bill: Medical Bankruptcy Fairness Act Bill Number: S. 435 Primary Sponsor: Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D, RI) Details of the Bill:
The Medical Bankruptcy Fairness Act would offer a more tailored bankruptcy process for individuals with large medical bills or who lose income due to an illness or injury or to care for a family member. It would also cover people who lose alimony or child support due to the medical condition of the person responsible to pay. For these “medical debtors,” the bill would: ·Waive procedural hurdles, such as credit counseling requirements, that make little sense for those driven to bankruptcy by medical issues; ·Allow for the forgiveness of student loan debt, which is currently prohibited in bankruptcy for all debtors; and ·Help families keep their homes by allowing them to maintain at least $250,000 in property. Date Introduced: 7/23/2020 Current Status: Referred to Committee Name of Bill: Patient Protection and Affordable Care Enhancement Bill No: H.R. 1425 Primary Sponsor: Angie Craig (D, MN) Details of the bill: H.R. 1425 would overhaul the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) premium tax credit structure, increasing the generosity of taxpayer funded insurance subsidies, and broadly expanding their availability regardless of income level. H.R. 1425 further seeks to roll back the expansion of short-term, limited-duration insurance, and to restore the funding for enrollment outreach and advertising for the health care exchanges. Date Introduced: 07/20/2020 Current Status: Passed the House e latest House coronavirus relief legislation would make more people eligible for Affordable Care Act subsidies for two years, temporarily fulfilling one of President Joe Biden's campaign promises. The bill, introduced this week by House Ways and Means Committee chair Rep. Richard Neal, would make the federal premium subsidy more generous and would eliminate the maximum income cap. Biden's First 100 Days · Biden hopes Trump's impeachment won't derail agenda · DOJ to ask Trump-appointed US attorneys to resign · Democrats unveil $3,000 child benefit as part of Biden relief package Part of Biden's $1.9 trillion relief package, the two moves would make buying policies on Obamacare exchanges more affordable for many middle class Americans, who have long been shut out of federal premium assistance because they earn too much. Enrollees would pay no more than 8.5% of their income towards coverage, down from nearly 10% now. Also, those earning more than the current cap of 400% of the federal poverty level -- about $51,000 for an individual and $104,800 for a family of four in 2021 -- would become eligible for help. Category #3 – Labor Laws
Name of Bill: End Outsourcing Act Bill Number: H R 6121` Primary Sponsor: Rep Mark Pocan, (D, WI) Details of the Bill:
This bill addresses the outsourcing of jobs and companies from the United States to low-tax foreign jurisdictions. The bill: (1) requires employers to include an outsourcing statement in worker adjustment and retraining notices; (2) denies employers a tax deduction for outsourcing expenses, including license fees and equipment installation costs; (3) denies employers the use of certain favorable accounting methods and a deduction for interest paid on indebtedness; (4) requires the recapture of certain tax credit amounts allowed to outsourcing employers. The bill authorizes federal contracting officers to take the outsourcing of jobs from the United States into account in awarding contracts and grants and extending loans and loan guarantees to corporations. Date Introduced: 03/05/2020 Current Status: Referred to Committee
Name of Bill: Gig Is Up Act Bill Number: H. R. 5419 Primary Sponsor: Rep Debra Haaland, (D, NM ) Details of the Bill: This bill requires employers to pay employer and employee portions of Social Security and Medicare taxes when they contract with at least 10,000 independent contractors and gross at least $100 million in a calendar year.
Date Introduced: 12/12/2019 Current Status: Referred to Committee Name of Bill: Protecting Employees and Retirees in Business Bankruptcies Act of 2020 Bill Number: H.R, 7370 Primary Sponsor: Rep. Jerrold Nadler, D. Y Details of the Bill: This bill modifies provisions related to Chapter 11 bankruptcy, which typically involves the reorganization of a debtor company's assets and debts. Specifically, the bill (1) expands available claims and priorities for employees and retirees, and (2) places additional restrictions on the compensation of executives and other high level employees. Date Introduced: 06/25/2020 Current Status: Ordered to be Amended Name of Bill: Butch Lewis Act of 2019 Bill Number: S.2254 Primary Sponsor: Sen. Sherrod Brown (D, OH) Details of the Bill: This bill establishes the Pension Rehabilitation Administration office, and a related trust fund to make loans to certain multiemployer defined benefit pension plans. The Pension Rehabilitation Administration may use the funds, without a further appropriation, to make loans, pay principal and interest on the bonds, or for administrative and operating expenses. The bill also appropriates to the PBGC the funds that are necessary to provide the financial assistance required by this bill. Date Introduced: 7/24/2019 Current Status:Referred to Committee Family and Medical Insurance Leave Act --The FAMILY Act Bill No.: H.R. 1185 Prinary Sponsors: Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D, CT) and Sen.Kirsten Gillibrand (D, NY) Details of the Bill: The bill establishes the Office of Paid Family and Medical Leave within the Social Security Administration. The bill entitles every individual to a family and medical leave insurance (FMLI) benefit payment for a specified benefit period and prescribes a formula for determining the individual's monthly benefit amount, The bill imposes a tax on all employers, employees, and self-employed. Allowing people or employers to opt-out would change the cost structure of the program and make it much more expensive for those who participate. Date Introduced: 2/13/2019 Current Status: Referred to Committee
Protecting the Right to Organize Act of 2019 Bill No. H.R. 2474 Primary Sponsor: Rep. Bobby Scott, (D, VA) Details of the Bill: This bill expands various labor protections related to employees' rights to organize and collectively bargain in the workplace. Specifically, it · revises the definition of employee, supervisor, and employer to broaden the scope of individuals covered by the fair labor standards; · permits a labor organization to encourage participation of union members in strikes initiated by employees represented by a different labor organization (i.e., secondary strikes); · allows collective-bargaining agreements to require all employees represented by the bargaining unit to contribute fees to the labor organization for the cost of such representation, notwithstanding a state law to the contrary; · expands unfair labor practices to include prohibitions against replacement of, or discrimination against, workers who participate in strikes; · makes it an unfair labor practice to require or coerce employees to attend employer meetings designed to discourage union membership; · prohibits employers from entering into agreements with employees under which employees waive the right to pursue or a join collective or class-action litigation; and · compels employers to bargain with a labor organization that has received a majority of valid votes for representation in an NLRB-directed election, and · The bill modifies the protections against unfair labor practices that result in serious economic harm such as the discharge of an employee. Specifically, the bill ; expands the available remedies for employees subject to such harms to include two times the amount of actual damages (e.g., back pay), consequential damages; and punitive damages; and establishes a civil penalty in addition to any damage awards. Date Introduced: 05.02.2019 Current Status: Passed the House
IN ADDITION…... Campaign promises regarding workers’ rights: #1 - Hold corporations and executives personally accountable for interfering with organizing efforts and violating other labor laws. · Biden strongly supports the Protecting the Right to Organize Act’s (PRO Act) provisions instituting financial penalties on companies that interfere with workers’ organizing efforts, including firing or otherwise retaliating against workers. · Biden intends to go beyond the PRO Act by enacting legislation to impose even stiffer penalties on corporations and to hold company executives personally liable when they interfere with organizing efforts, including criminally liable when their interference is intentional. #2 - Aggressively pursue employers who violate labor laws, participate in wage theft, or cheat on their taxes by intentionally misclassifying employees as independent contractors · Biden wants to stop employers intentionally misclassifying their employees as independent contractors. He will promote legislation that makes worker misclassification a substantive violation of law under all federal labor, employment, and tax laws with additional penalties beyond those imposed for other violations. · Biden intends to fund a dramatic increase in the number of investigators in labor and employment enforcement agencies to facilitate a large anti-misclassification effort. #3 Ensure federal dollars do not flow to employers who engage in union- busting activities, participate in wage theft, or violate labor law. · Biden will propose a multi-year federal debarment for all employers who illegally oppose unions, building on debarment efforts pursued in the Obama Administration. Biden will also restore and build on the Obama Administration’s Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces executive order, which Trump revoked, requiring employers’ compliance with labor and employment laws be taken into account in determining whether they are sufficiently responsible to be entrusted with federal contracts. · He will ensure federal contracts only go to employers who sign neutrality agreements committing not to run anti-union campaigns. He also will only award contracts to employers who support their workers, including those who pay a $15 per hour minimum wage and family sustaining benefits. The tax dollars of hard-working families should not be used to damage the standard of living of those same families. The Biden administration can also reverse some aspects of Trump’s labor policies without new Congressional legislation:
Wages · Leaving millions without overtime: In 2016, the Obama Department of Labor updated the overtime salary threshold from $23,660 to $47,476, but this update was ultimately blocked in the courts before the rule could be fully implemented. Instead of defending the 2016 rule—which would have strengthened overtime protections for 12.5 million workers—the Trump administration proceeded with their own proposed rule. Under the 2019 rule, the Department of Labor updated the overtime threshold to $35,568. Roughly 8.2 million workers who would have benefited from the 2016 rule were left behind by the Trump administration’s rule. Health and Safety · Cherry-picking mine inspections: In April 2018, the Mine Safety and Health Administration finalized a rulethat weakens metal/nonmetal mine safety inspection requirements. Prior to the final rule, mine safety inspectors were allowed to conduct a safety examination at any time, including during the mineworkers’ shifts, making it easier for inspectors to spot unsafe practices and stop them before someone gets hurt. Under the final rule, mine safety inspections can occur only before or right as workers are beginning their shift in the mine. · Increasing hog speed lines: The Department of Agriculture finalized a rule in April 2019 that would allow an unlimited increase in hog slaughter line speeds—putting public health, worker safety, and animal welfare at risk. EPI analysis estimated that even a 1% increase in nonfatal injuries and illnesses as a result of the rule would increase the cost of the rule by more than $2 million annually—and that is a markedly conservative estimate because it does not take into account the potential for increased fatalities. Right to Organize · Narrowing the joint-employer standard under the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA): In February 2020, the National Labor Relations Board finalized a rule that narrowed the joint-employer standard under the National Labor Relations Act, leaving more workers unable to hold the employers who control key aspects of their jobs accountable for violation of labor law. EPI estimated that workers will lose $1.3 billion in wages annually as a result of the rule. · Tip regulations under the FLSA: In October 2019, the Department of Labor proposed a rule that would make it possible for employers to require that tipped workers spend more time doing non-tipped work while still earning a sub-minimum wage for tipped workers. In particular, this proposal would put an end to what is known as the “80/20 rule,” which says that tipped workers being paid a sub-minimum wage can spend no more than 20% of their time on non-tipped activity. · Excluding graduate students under the NLRA: The National Labor Relations Board proposed a rulemaking in September 2019 that would strip student workers at private universities of their right to organize and collectively bargain. The immediate effect of this proposed rule would be to take away the collective bargaining rights of the roughly 57,500 graduate assistants working at private universities. Additionally, more than 1.5 million graduate students at private universities would stand to lose the right to form a union. · Allowing federal contractors to violate labor and employment laws without repercussions: During the first 100 days of his administration, President Trump signed a resolution blocking the Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces rule, which requires that contractors to disclose violations of federal labor laws and executive orders addressing wage and hour, safety and health, collective bargaining, family and medical leave, and civil rights protections. By blocking this rule, President Trump ensured that federal contractors with records of violating basic labor and employment laws will continue to be rewarded with taxpayer dollars. · Subjecting unemployed workers to unneeded drug tests: In March 2017, President Trump signed a resolutionblocking a rule clarifying when jobless workers applying for unemployment insurance (UI) benefits may be subjected to drug testing. As a result, unemployed workers continue to face barriers when seeking unemployment insurance benefits, including the tens of millions of workers who have filed for UI benefits during the coronavirus pandemic.
Category #4 Housing Name of Bill: Legal Assistance to Prevent Evictions Act of 2020 Bill No.: H.R, 5884
Primary Sponsor: Rep.James Clyburn, (D, SC) Details of the Bill: This bill requires the Department of Housing and Urban Development to award grants to nonprofit and governmental entities to provide free legal assistance to eligible low-income tenants at risk of, or subject to, eviction. Date Introduced: 02/18/1920 Current status: Referred to committee IN ADDITION….. Campaign promises on Housing Issues 1. Biden promises to work to secure tenants’ rights nationwide - including creating a federal just cause eviction standard, a right to lease renewal, protections against constructive eviction, and protecting tenants’ right to organize. Judges in eviction proceedings would also be required to consider how an eviction might harm a tenant’s health conditions or a child’s ability to stay enrolled in local public schools, and to temporarily stay evictions if tenants can’t find another home in the same neighborhood. #2 - Biden favors a nationwide right-to-counsel for low-income tenants. In 2010, 90% of tenants in eviction proceedings weren’t represented by lawyers, but 90% of landlords were. Legal representation can significantly increase success in for tenants in their cases, keep eviction filings off their records, and prevent them from having to enter homeless shelters. We should create a national housing right-to-counsel fund which would provide grants to cities to guarantee access to counsel for low- and middle-income tenants who are facing eviction or taking their landlord to court for violations like breaching their lease, shutting off their heat and water, or violating the housing code. #3. Biden promises to create a new Tenant Protection Bureau within the Department of Housing and Urban Development - modeled after the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) - to enforce tenants’ rights. #4. Biden promises to create a national small dollar grant program to help make sure families aren’t evicted because of financial emergencies. it’s all too easy for a family to fall behind on rent after a surprise trip to the emergency room or car repair. Massachusetts pioneered several programs that provide small grants to help families facing a one-time budget crunch, like the Homestart program, which provides grants of on average $700 and some wraparound services to help families avoid eviction. #5 -Provide Section 8 housing vouchers to every eligible family so that no one has to pay more than 30% of their income for rental housing. · Roughly three in four households eligible for Section 8 rental assistance do not receive housing assistance because the program is underfunded. Biden’s approach is straightforward: the Section 8 rental housing assistance program should be fully funded so that everyone eligible gets the assistance they need to pay their rent for a safe home. Biden will devote resources to both voucher-based rental assistance and the project-based program. Over time, this approach will provide assistance to at least 17 million low-income families. And, as part of the Homeowner and Renter Bill of Rights, Biden will enact a law prohibiting landlords from discriminating against renters receiving federal housing benefits. #6- Create a new renter’s tax credit to help more low-income families. · Biden will work with Congress to enact a new renter’s tax credit, designed to reduce rent and utilities to 30% of income for low-income individuals and families who may make too much money to qualify for a Section 8 voucher but still struggle to pay their rent. He will allocate $5 billion in federal funding for the tax credit every year. Category #5 – Criminal Justice reform Name of Bill: No Money Bail Act of 2019 Bill Number: H.R. 4474 Primary Sponsor: Rep Ted Lieu, (D, CA) Details of the Bill: This bill restricts the use of money bail (i.e., the payment of money as a condition of pretrial release) in criminal cases. Specifically, it prohibits the use of money bail in federal criminal cases. Additionally, it makes a state that uses a money bail system ineligible for funds under the Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant Program. Date Introduced: 10/28/2019 Current Status: Referred to Committee Name of Bill: A Just Society: The Mercy-in-Reentry Act Bill Number: H.R. 5070 Primary Sponsor: Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, (D, NY) Details of the Bill: No one may be denied any Federal public benefit solely on the basis that the individual was convicted of a criminal offense (whether under Federal, State, tribal, or foreign law). This would apply to any retirement, welfare, health, disability, public or assisted housing, postsecondary education, food assistance, unemployment benefit, or any other similar benefit for which payments or assistance are provided to an individual, household, or family eligibility unit by an agency of the United States Date Introduced: 11/30/2019 Current Status: Referred to Committee
Name of Bill: Justice in Policing Act of 2020 Bill Number: H. R. 7120 Primary Sponsor: Rep. Bass, Karen [D-CA-37] Details of the Bill:
The bill facilitates federal enforcement of constitutional violations (e.g., excessive use of force) by state and local law enforcement. Among other things, it does the following: · lowers the criminal intent standard—from willful to knowing or reckless—to convict a law enforcement officer for misconduct in a federal prosecution, · limits qualified immunity as a defense to liability in a private civil action against a law enforcement officer or state correctional officer, and · authorizes the Department of Justice to issue subpoenas in investigations of police departments for a pattern or practice of discrimination. .
Date Introduced: 06/08/2020 Current Status: placed on Senate’s legislative calendar IN ADDITION….. Campaign Promises on Criminal Justice
#1: Restrict fines and fees levied pre-trial.
In many jurisdictions individuals are charged cost-prohibitive pre-trial fees, sending them into debt even if they are ultimately acquitted of a crime. In cases of pre-trial civil forfeiture, an I ndividual often cannot recover property seized prior to conviction. Biden intends to reverse the Trump administration’s policyexpanding pre-trial civil forfeiture at the federal level, and restrict the use of civil forfeiture overall.
#2 -Cap the assessment of fines and fees.
Jailing someone who can’t afford to pay thousands of dollars in fines on an hourly minimum wage salary is not only cruel — it’s ineffective. Criminal debt collection should be capped at a percentage of income for low-income individuals. States should also eliminate the profit incentive that drives excessive fees and fines by capping the percentage of municipal revenues derived from the justice system, and diverting seized assets into a general fund.
#3 -Eliminate fees for necessary services.
Private companies and contractors can charge incarcerated people for essential services, like phone calls, bank transfers, and health care. Private companies also profit from charging individuals for their own incarceration and supervision, including through fees for re-entry, supervision, and probation. Biden intends to end this practice and ensure that private companies don’tget rich from exploiting vulnerable people.
#4. Allow judges to determine appropriate sentences, : repeal federal mandatory minimums, incentivize states to do the same, and make all sentencing reductions retroactive so judges can reconsider past cases where their hands were tied.
An Attorney General who is skeptical of mandatory minimums could also instruct federal prosecutors to use them judiciously.
Miscellaneous reforms proposed:
· Remove the copay Federal Bureau of Prisons inmates are required to pay to visit a BOP provided doctor.
· Create a panel to study the use of solitary confinement in prisons and requires DOJ to adopt the recommendations of the commission to reduce the use of solitary confinement. •
· Broaden eligibility to allow the expungement of individual records related to a first-time drug possession offense committed before age 25 (currently, before age 21). •
· Remove the drug conviction questions from FAFSA and creates recommendations for removing juvenile justice history questions from all college applications. •
Category #6 – Debtor Protection Laws
Name of bill: Consumer Bankruptcy Reform Act of 2020.
Bill Number: S. 4991
Senator Elizabeth Warren (D. Mass.) and Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D. N.Y.)
Details of the bill:
· Allow home renters to continue in the premises without curing certain payment defaults.
· Eliminate exemptions under state law and create, (i) a new homestead exemption based on a “federal floor keyed to FHFA conforming loan limit for the debtor’s county of residence,” and (ii) an additional set of federal exemptions, including a $35,000 wildcard exemption;
· Allow debtors with mortgages to, (i) sell encumbered property free and clear of liens, and (ii) modify their mortgage, based on market value of the property, with reduced interest rates;
· Allow car owners to pay liquidation value to keep the car (excluding cars purchased 90 days before bankruptcy);
· Allow private and federal student loans to be discharge like other unsecured debt;
· On race-related issues, (i) certain criminal justice fines and fees are dischargeable, (ii) prevents discharge of debts for civil rights violations, and (iii) requires collection of data on race, gender, and age;
· On gender-related issues, (i) moves to an income- and asset-only based calculation of repayment ability, (ii) creates a lump-sum personal property exemption adjusted by the number of dependents, rather than number of bankruptcy filers, and (iii) protects rights to alimony, child support, child tax credit, and Earned Income Tax Credit.
The proposed Chapter 10 also addresses loopholes for the wealthy and for corporate misconduct:
· Eliminates the intent requirement for fraudulent transfer of a self-settled trust;
· Eliminates spendthrift trusts rights, with carve outs for bona fide disability trusts;
· Disallows claims when a federal consumer financial law is violated;
· Expands Fair Debt Collection Practices Act to cover bankruptcy claims filed without a reasonable and good faith belief of viability under the statute of limitations;
· Makes a knowing collection effort on a discharged debt an unfair practice, unless debtor voluntarily chooses to repay the debt;
· Allows lawsuits against creditors and collectors who try to collect debts discharged in bankruptcy, including class action lawsuits, and eliminates mandatory arbitration in such matters;
· Establishes a Consumer Bankruptcy Ombuds to handle consumer bankruptcy complaints;
We must protect Social Security, railroad retirement, and black lung benefits from any garnishment to satisfy a debt, restoring these benefits to their historically protected status
The bill also amends the Fair Credit Reporting Act to prohibit a consumer reporting agency from creating a report containing a landlord-tenant court or other housing court record
Date of bill: 12/9/2020
Current Status: Referred to Committee