Dave Catchpole / CC BY 2.0

A provision in the budget deal that passed the House on Wednesday will allow debt collectors to harass student loan borrowers with unlimited automated calls and text messages, even after being asked to stop.

The new rule will add significantly to the anxiety of the nation’s already distressed borrowers, many of whom are financially disabled by an economy that does not provide adequate wages.

National student loan debt is now over $1.2 trillion, a sum greater than what the entire U.S. population owes on credit cards. In 2013 alone, the U.S. government collected $51 billion from interest charged to the nation’s youth.

Lee Fang reports of the robocall provision at The Intercept:

The change is a major victory for the debt collections industry, which has retained a small army of lawyers and lobbyists for years to weaken the Telephone Consumer Protection Act, the law that protects people from unwanted robocalls and pre-recorded messages.

It’s also a big win for the small network of lobbyists within outgoing Speaker John Boehner’s inner circle, a cadre nicknamed “Boehnerland” by D.C insiders. …

President Barack Obama also supports changing the law to allow more automated calls by debt collectors.

Consumer advocates are livid that congressional leaders, including Boehner, Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and Senate leaders, would agree to such a deal.

Read more here.

— Posted by Alexander Reed Kelly.

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