This Week in Congress: How Polk Representatives Voted

WASHINGTON – Here’s how members of Congress in the region voted on major issues during legislative week ending May 14.

HOUSING

REDUCE DEBT COLLECTORS: By voting 215 for and 207 against, the House passed a bill on May 13 (HR 2547) that would prohibit abusive practices by private companies that collect debts from consumers, student borrowers and others in serious delinquency . The bill would require a two-year grace period before efforts to collect medical debt from critically ill people can begin. And it would allow co-signers as well as private student loan borrowers to pay off their debt on a total and permanent disability basis, just as severely disabled federal student loan borrowers and their co-signers can. The bill would also allow:

• Prohibit businesses from collecting medical debts or reporting them to a credit bureau without first informing consumers of their rights.

• Limit fees to 10% of collections for businesses hired by federal agencies to collect debts.

• Prohibit collection companies from making malicious and unfounded threats against members of the military.

• Increase the pecuniary damages imposed by the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act of 1977 on companies using unfair and deceptive practices.

• Prohibit collection companies from using email and text messages to harass arrears without their permission.

• Expand protections for small minority-owned businesses against collection actions.

Deborah Ross, DN.C., said the bill was necessary because “debt collectors often act with impunity, threatening service people, denying small business owners due process and harassing clients and clients. homeowners with repeated calls, texts and emails. affects student career decisions, small business growth, homeownership, and family financial stability. “

Guy Reschenthaler, R-Pa., Said that “consumers are already protected against harmful debt collection practices” under current law, and added that “it is absolutely clear that [Democrats] are using the COVID-19 pandemic as an excuse to dismantle our free market system and impose their radical and progressive agenda on the American people. “

A positive vote was to send the bill to the Senate.

Polk County Representatives:

Vote yes: Darren Soto, D-Kissimmee

Vote no: Scott Franklin, R-Lakeland, Greg Steube, R-Sarasota

ACCOMMODATION IN THE WORKPLACE FOR PREGNANCY: By voting 315 for and 101 against, the House passed a bill on May 14 (HR 1065) that would require private sector companies and government agencies with 15 or more employees to provide reasonable accommodation in the workplace to workers and job seekers who are pregnant or have recently given birth. The bill would not require employers to make accommodations that place undue hardship on their operations. Critics of the GOP said it gave insufficient protection to religious organizations.

Lois Frankel, D-Fla., Said that pregnant women at work now “may be denied … an extra bathroom break, a place to sit, a lighter lift, or [be] fired for asking for simple accommodations or even just for revealing that she was pregnant. This forces many women to choose between the health of their pregnancy and putting food on the table for their families. We are putting women at risk every day as we delay this action. “

Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., Said: “Passing this bill means that a small business or religious organization could be forced to give paid time off to an employee to have an abortion even though it does. violates the organization’s religious beliefs. On top of that, these groups can be sued for damages for not taking all necessary steps to accommodate pregnant workers. This means churches and small businesses, the America’s backbone, will be tied up in court for years … “

A positive vote was to send the bill to the Senate.

Polk representatives

Vote yes: In a way to

Vote no: Franklin, Steube

SENATE

BANKING RULE ADMINISTRATION NULLIFYING TRUMP: By voting 52 for and 47 against, the Senate on May 11 overturned a six-month-old Trump administration rule that allowed state-regulated predatory lenders to use fleeting alliances with national banks and federal savings associations to avoid state banking regulations, including usury rules capping interest rates. Federal institutions involved in such arrangements are not responsible for national regulations. The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency issued the rule on October 30, 2020. With this vote, the Senate passed a resolution (SJ Res 15) that would revoke it through the Congressional Review Act. Advocates said the rule rightly allows domestic banks to become the official lender if they paid money and signed their name at the time of creation. They said the cancellation would penalize community banks that partner with internet-based financial institutions (“fintechs”) to expand their portfolios.

Chris Van Hollen, D-Md, said that under the rule, unscrupulous lenders “go to a national bank, and you basically rent their name. And in doing so, you create a loophole that allows you to avoid the state laws that have been put in place to guard against this type of predatory lending … “

Pat Toomey, R-Pa., Said the rule “ensures that domestic banks are accountable for the loans they issue through these lending partnerships, and it requires the OCC to oversee these loans for compliance. consumer protection and anti-discrimination laws “.

A favorable vote was to send the annulment measure to the House.

Florida Senators

Vote yes: Marco Rubio, republican

Vote no: Rick Scott, Republican

Senator Marco Rubio, R-Fla.

ANDREA PALM, ASSISTANT SECRETARY OF HEALTH: By voting 61 for and 37 against, the Senate confirmed on May 11 Andrea J. Palm, 47, as assistant secretary of the Department of Health and Social Services. Palm was a senior HHS staff member and White House assistant during the Obama administration, and she worked under Hillary Clinton when she represented New York in the Senate. Palm recently worked as the appointed secretary of the Wisconsin Department of Health Services.

A yes vote was to confirm the candidate.

Florida Senators

Vote no: Rubio, Scott

Senator Rick Scott, R-Fla.

CINDY MARTEN, ASSISTANT SECRETARY FOR EDUCATION: By voting 54 for and 44 against, the Senate confirmed on May 11 Cindy M. Marten as assistant secretary of the Ministry of Education. She served as Superintendent of the San Diego Unified School District between 2013 and 2021. A former teacher and school principal, Marten is a literacy specialist who served as chair of the San Diego Council of Literacy Professionals.

A yes vote was to confirm the candidate.

Florida Senators

Vote no: Rubio, Scott


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