A source in close contact with members of the House Financial Services Committee has shared exclusive details with the Resurgent of House Democrats’ plans for ongoing “stimulus” bills in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Congress has already pursued three coronavirus relief bills.
However, House Democrats want to pursue a minimum of an additional two COVID-19 bills that are “more policy focused.”
It is not yet clear what that means in practice, but given chatter amongst members of the House Financial Services Committee, it almost certainly means some sort of financial institution bailout and/or regulation package.
An analysis conducted yesterday of legislation that House Financial Services Chairwoman Maxine Waters was working on indicated that in future COVID-19 packages, House Democrats would pursue “significant limitations on debt collection and repayment, including a ban on using a bank account to collect a debt,” the “invalidation of arbitration agreements,” and what appears to be a bailout for any lender in the financial system that suffers losses related to a borrower’s failure to repay while the crisis plays out.
There is also a proposal from the left wing of the Democratic Party that is reportedly opposed by mainstream Democrats to include in future COVID-19 legislation a permanent ban on any loans containing interest rates in excess of 36 percent.
A bailout for any lender in the financial system would likely be the biggest political problem for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi in moving such a package forward, but the measures related to debt collection and repayment as well as interest rate caps could massively restrict the availability of credit at a time when experts generally agree that more, not fewer, financing options are needed for individuals and small businesses to stay afloat.
But future bills there will be: The Hill reported on Tuesday that “On a marathon conference call with the House Democratic Caucus Tuesday afternoon, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) told lawmakers there will likely be a fourth and fifth phase of pandemic relief.”
So, House Democrats privately firming up that commitment today is not a surprise, and nor should be the appearance of more COVID-19 bills containing measures not directly related to the crisis.