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Democrats Tried to Protect Relief Payments From Debt Collectors, So Naturally a Republican Blocked It
Sarah Silbiger-Pool/Getty Images

Earlier this month, Democrats passed the American Rescue Plan—a massive $1.9 trillion package aimed at providing relief in the face of the pandemic that's killed over 500 thousand Americans.

The legislation provides stimulus checks for most Americans, paycheck protection programs, vaccine rollout funds, and a slew of other necessary provisions, but it received not a single Republican vote.

In fact, Republicans in both the House and Senate slammed the bill as a liberal "wish list" and chastised their Democratic colleagues for their supposed unwillingness to pursue a bipartisan bill. But though the bill is unpopular among Republican lawmakers, it's widely popular among American voters.

With President Joe Biden signing the bill into law on March 12, millions of Americans have begun receiving their $1400 stimulus checks, with households and those with children receiving additional monetary benefits as well.

Senators Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and Ron Wyden (D-OR) offered a bill on Thursday that would protect these stimulus payments from predatory debt collectors—but Republicans saw it as an opportunity to get revenge.

When the Senators moved to pass the bill through unanimous consent, Senator Pat Toomey (R-PA) objected, ensuring a much lengthier process that almost defeats the purpose.

When the Senate passed the December wave of pandemic relief, the bill ensured protections of the $600 stimulus checks from debt collectors. Democrats tried to offer the same protections in the American Rescue Plan, but because they used the reconciliation process to bypass the filibuster, the Senate Parliamentarian ruled that these protections weren't permissible.

Toomey blamed Democrats for the lack of protections, insisting that they should have sought a bill that could've gotten 60 votes in the Senate.

People weren't having it.

Toomey announced last year that he wouldn't be seeking reelection in 2022—and his move to protect debt collectors had people grateful for that.

Toomey emphasized that many debt collectors had "valid legal claims" to people's emergency stimulus.