Senate Approves Reverend Warnock’s Bipartisan Amendment to Protect Servicemembers from Debt Collector Harassment; Provision Now Included in Annual Defense Bill  

Senator Reverend Warnock’s amendment based on his Fair Debt Collection Practices for Servicemembers Actwas approved by the Senate today 95-2

Amendment will be included as a provision of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) currently being debated on the Senate floor

Senator Reverend Warnock’s amendment will provide new financial guardrails to protect servicemembers from threats, harassment from debt collectors  

 A 2014 Army Reserve review found that the second leading contributing factor to servicemember suicide was financial stress


Washington, D.C. — Today, the U.S. Senate approved a bipartisan amendment offered by U.S. Senator Reverend Raphael Warnock (D-GA) that will provide new financial protections for brave Georgians and Americans in uniform, and included Warnock’s amendment as a provision in the annual defense authorization bill currently being considered on the Senate floor. Senator Warnock, who also chairs the Senate Banking subcommittee on financial institutions and consumer protection, spoke on the Senate floor about the importance of passing the legislation to protect servicemembers from debt collector harassment and threats prior to the amendment’s passage, which was approved by the Senate 95-2. The bipartisan amendment was co-sponsored by U.S. Senators John Cornyn (R-TX), Ted Budd (R-NC), Thom Tillis (R-NC) and Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Chairman of the Senate Banking committee.

(Watch video of Senator Reverend Warnock’s full floor remarks HERE.) 

Senator Warnock’s amendment, based on legislation he previously introduced, will put restrictions on the types of communications debt collectors are allowed to have when interacting with servicemembers, such as prohibiting debt collectors from making threats of rank reduction, revocation of security clearance, or military prosecution. Servicemembers report being harassed by debt collectors at a higher rate than the civilian population, and notably, many of the threats debt collectors make to servicemembers regarding their military service are beyond their purview and are simply used to pressure and harass servicemembers. This amendment would help alleviate servicemembers’ stress caused by aggressive debt collection tactics, and help Georgians and Americans in uniform focus on accomplishing their missions and caring for their families.

Read below Senator Reverend Warnock’s floor remarks, as prepared for delivery:

“M. President, I call up amendment number 1-9-9 for consideration.

“Servicemembers report being harassed by predatory debt collectors at a higher rate than the civilian population.

“Predatory and unscrupulous debt collectors send messages to commanding officers with private financial information, all in an effort to harass our men and women in uniform.

“They harass servicemembers by threatening rank reduction, revocation of security clearance, or punishment under the military justice code.

“These debt collection practices are manipulative. And they undermine our national security by distracting our servicemembers from focusing on their missions and caring for their families.

“In fact, a 2014 Army Reserve review found that the second leading contributing factor to servicemember suicide was financial stress.

“This amendment reinforces the existing protections provided to all Americans, but especially those who are putting their lives on the line to protect our families and our communities by restricting predatory debt collection practices aimed specifically at our servicemembers.

“This bipartisan amendment costs nothing and has broad support among the nation’s military and veteran community.

“It even has the support of reputable and responsible debt collectors—the very industry it would affect.

“I want to thank Senators Budd, Cornyn, Tillis, and Brown for their partnership on this.

“And I look forward to the support of my colleagues in passing this bipartisan amendment to protect our nation’s servicemembers.

“Thank you. I yield back the balance of my time.”