On November 2, 2015, President Obama signed into law the Bipartisan Budget Agreement of 2015.  While much of the attention surrounding the bill focused on the decision to raise the debt ceiling, the legislation also quietly included a “Debt Collection Improvements” provision.  This section amends the TCPA so that an autodialed call to a cell phone or residential telephone line is permitted even in the absence of the prior express consent of the called party as long as the call is made for the purpose of collecting “a debt owed to or guaranteed by the United States.”  The Act also calls on the FCC to establish regulations to implement the amendment within nine months, and specifies that the Commission has the authority to “restrict or limit the number and duration of calls made to a telephone number assigned to a cellular telephone service to collect a debt owed to or guaranteed by the United States.”  Within days of the President signing the bill, Senator Ed Markey (D-MA), along with ten other bipartisan cosponsors, introduced legislation to reverse the TCPA exemption for government debt collection calls, arguing that the amendment will make it easier for debt collectors to harass anyone who holds government-backed debt, including students and veterans.  The bill (S.2235) is currently pending before the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation.