May 14, 2009
Here is an recent email that was sent to me at firstname.lastname@example.org that is reported to be sent out by The Association of Settlement Companies to members to try to defeat the Debt Settlement Consumer Protection Act.
Three things struck me.
- To label the bill as anti-consumer is not helpful.
- There appears to be no consideration of embracing some bill that adopts an upfront fee ban.
- While the TASC cheering squad might be all excited about getting employees and friends to call government representatives to “defeat” the bill what about the FTC rules that are on the heels of this?
It seems to me that at this point an embrace of some regulation that accepts a reasonable upfront fee, a nominal monthly fee and a performance or contingency fee model based on debt settled would be a more logical approach and make TASC look at least a bit in-touch with the world around them.
The DSCPA was put forward by consumer groups and banks. States are drafting their own similar legislation. The UDMSA was widely a collaborative effort that embraces performance fees. And the only people pushing back here are USOBA and TASC. Gee, what’s wrong with this picture?
We know that many of you are not only very concerned about the possibility of Congress passing debt settlement legislation but also eager to help us in our lobbying efforts. We want you to know that our team, working with USOBA and our Washington-based lobbyists, have been in continuous meetings with both Republican and Democratic Senators regarding the Schumer amendment. There is substantial resistance on Capitol Hill to consideration of amendments that are unrelated to the larger financial regulatory reform bill, which would mean that, with approximately 300 amendments already filed, the amendment may never be considered. While the volume of amendments may result in a time crunch, no one knows exactly how the process will play out. We will keep you advised as soon as we have more information.
Meanwhile, we cannot stress enough how important it is to keep having your employees, customers and friends contact their Senators about how this bill would eliminate a critically needed option for consumers. You should stress that the bill will cost tens of thousands of jobs, nationwide (and, if applicable, how it will affect jobs in your state). The more the Senators hear that this legislation is anti-consumer[my bold], anti-jobs and will force hundreds of thousands of hard-working Americans into bankruptcy, the greater the chance of building resistance to even considering the bill.
The most likely development in the near future is that early next week the Majority Leader will close the window for amendments and start the clock ticking on both debate and votes for any existing amendments. 60 out of 100 votes are needed to close the window, which means that the Democrats and Republicans will have to agree.
While we believe this will be wrapped up by the end of this month, and will continue to work hard to protect our industry, we cannot predict what Congress will do. We will, however, continue to keep you updated as swiftly as possible.
TASC Legislative Team