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House Passes Chellie Pingree’s Bill Aimed At Unfair Veterans Affairs Debt Collection

The House of Representatives has approved Democratic U.S. Rep. Chellie Pingree’s bill aimed at protecting vets from unfair debt collections by Veterans Affairs.

Pingree, from Maine’s 1st District, says too often veterans only find out that they owe the VA after their credit rating is damaged or they are denied a loan.

“For instance, we heard from a single mom who is a vet who couldn’t get a home loan because she didn’t realize she had an unpaid assessment from the VA,” she says. “The person didn’t even know they owed the money, and we heard from the VA, ‘Well, this is how the system works.’ So it’s our way saying, ‘OK, fix the system.’ And it’s true, the VA should have fixed it, but apparently this is going to take an act of Congress.”

Pingree says in some cases, the bill is a mistake. She says veterans deserve better treatment, and that her bill would require the agency improve its communications with veterans about any debts they might owe.