In a sort of curious choice, ethically speaking, Democratic National Committee Chair and Florida Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz is co-sponsoring a bill that would gut the agency tasked with overseeing payday lenders. As a reminder, payday loan companies prey on the most financially vulnerable Americans and are objectively evil.
The Huffington Post reports that Wasserman Schultz is not just co-sponsoring a bill designed to weaken the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, but is circulating a memo trying to get her fellow Democrats to support it. The CFPB was created with the guidance of Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren, is broadly meant to regulate big banks and financial industries to keep them from fucking over ordinary consumers, and has been under attack by Republicans from the jump.
And now, Schultz and seven other Democrats are kindly reaching across the aisle in support of H.R. 4018, which would keep the CFPB from implementing any new rules regulating payday lenders for two years, and which would make those rules inapplicable in any state that already has payday loan laws. Those states include Florida where, as the HuffPo points out, nearly all of the Democrats co-sponsoring the bill are from. The payday loan industry spends millions on lobbying politicians, including Wasserman Schultz, who got $31,250 in the last election cycle alone.
Payday loans are the fucking worst: they trap poor borrowers in endless cycles of very high-interest debt. Wasserman Schultz’s staff told the HuffPo that Florida’s laws are the best for regulating the industry, something the Center for Responsible lending told the Miami Herald in December isn’t really true at all.
An enormous coalition of financial transparency, labor, faith-based and social justice groups think this is a really goddamn bad bill, including the NAACP, the National Association of Consumer Advocates, the Alliance for a Just Society, and dozens of state-based organizations. It’s somewhat difficult to continue holding up Wasserman Schultz as a “dogged defender of progressive values” when she’s busy supporting measures like this one.
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