Sending Office: Honorable Joseph D. Morelle
Call on Treasury to Prevent Offsets of Stimulus Payments
Deadline: COB Thursday 4/16 – to join, complete
Please join me in calling on the Treasury Department to take immediate action to exempt the economic stimulus payments laid out in the CARES Act from private debt collection through its rulemaking authority. As you may have heard, there were recent reports
that officials within the Treasury Department have given the green light for private debt collectors to intercept economic stimulus payments and use the funds to offset an individual’s outstanding debt. During times of such uncertainty, the American people
need, and deserve, assurances that the relief they have been promised by Congress will arrive in full. I hope you will join me in calling on Treasury to provide that assurance.
Member of Congress
Dear Secretary Mnuchin and Commissioner Rettig,
We write to express our concern for recent reports that officials within the Department of Treasury (Treasury) have given the green light for private debt collectors to intercept economic stimulus payments and use the funds to offset an individual’s outstanding
debt. During times of such uncertainty, the American people need, and deserve, assurances that the relief they have been promised by Congress will arrive in full. We request the Treasury take immediate action to exempt these economic stimulus payments from
private debt collection through its rulemaking authority.
As laid out in Section 2201 of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, Congress authorized economic stimulus payments of $1,200 for qualifying Americans, along with an additional $500 per dependent child. These payments are meant
to provide critical financial relief to mitigate the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on individuals and families. To guarantee these checks arrive in the hands of those who need it most, Congress specifically included language exempting the economic stimulus
payments from debt collection if the debt is owed to federal or state agencies, with the intentional exception of debt owed for child support. It is the clear intent of Congress that these checks arrive undisturbed to those who need it most.
As our nation works to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic as quickly and efficiently as possible, Congress laid out clear legislation, but errors were inevitable, which is why the CARES Act includes a built-in mechanism for correcting oversights. Treasury
is specifically authorized to issue “regulations or other guidance as may be necessary to carry out the purposes of this section.” We urge Treasury to help provide clarity for the American people who are adjusting to the difficulties of working remotely, reduced
hours, or unemployment; balancing childcare and education while schools shift to remote learning and daycares close; accessing food, medicine, and basic necessities; during the novel COVID-19 pandemic. An immediate rulemaking would provide much needed assurance
to the American people, and we urge Treasury to act immediately.
We are grateful to Treasury for your commitment to providing guidance for a wide range of programs and regulations as efficiently as possible during this crisis, and we look forward to your immediate clarification on exemptions for economic stimulus payments.
e-Dear Colleague version 2.0