Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

Democratic National Committee chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz is a close ally of presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, and co-chaired her 2008 presidential campaign. (Photo: Fortune Live Media/flickr/cc)

Payday Loan Sharks Have Good Friend in Government: Democratic Party Chair

In backing bill to delay or block payday lender regulations, DNC chair Debbie Wasserman Shultz is aligning herself with the Republican Party

Deirdre Fulton

Sketchy payday loan sharks, whose short-term, high-interest loans trap millions of Americans in a cycle of debt, have a new ally on Capitol Hill—Democratic National Committee chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz, who is reportedly pushing a bill that would "gut" forthcoming industry regulations.

According to a memo seen by the Huffington Post, Rep. Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.) is co-sponsoring legislation (pdf) to delay new rules from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), meant to crack down on abusive payday lending that profits off deceptive terms, automatic "rollovers," staggering fees, and interest rates averaging over 300 percent annual percentage rate (APR).

The so-called "Consumer Protection and Choice Act" would delay those rules for two years and "permanently block them in any state that enacts the sort of ineffectual, industry-crafted regulatory sham that Florida adopted in 2001," ThinkProgress reports

In December, 265 civil rights, labor, and consumer advocacy groups signed onto a letter opposing the legislation, which they decried as "an attempt to codify industry-backed practices that do little to protect consumers."

In backing the bill, the HuffPo notes, Wasserman Shultz is aligning herself with the Republican Party, which has "assailed the agency from every conceivable angle—going after its budget, attempting to tie its hands with new layers of red tape, fomenting conspiracy theories about rogue regulators illegally shutting down businesses and launching direct attacks on payday loan rules themselves."

She is also going against public opinion. A poll conducted last year for Americans for Financial Reform and the Center for Responsible Lending, showed that nearly two in three voters have a negative view of payday lenders. The same survey showed that respondents viewed payday lenders as predators rather than resources by a margin of more than 3:1.

The move also puts Wasserman Schultz—who has come under fire for the DNC's perceived pro-Hillary Clinton bias—at odds with U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), who conceived of and established the CFPB and who has denounced payday lending schemes for targeting the poor.

As Eric Levitz of New York Magazine's Daily Intelligencer said Tuesday—his tongue firmly in his cheek: "With such brave legislators leading the Democratic Party, it’s difficult to understand how Bernie Sanders can get so mad at the 'Establishment'."

Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

We've had enough. The 1% own and operate the corporate media. They are doing everything they can to defend the status quo, squash dissent and protect the wealthy and the powerful. The Common Dreams media model is different. We cover the news that matters to the 99%. Our mission? To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good. How? Nonprofit. Independent. Reader-supported. Free to read. Free to republish. Free to share. With no advertising. No paywalls. No selling of your data. Thousands of small donations fund our newsroom and allow us to continue publishing. Can you chip in? We can't do it without you. Thank you.

Biden's Student Debt Relief to Cost a Fraction of US Giveaways to the Megarich and Pentagon

"In contrast to President Trump and Republicans who gave giant corporations $2 trillion in tax breaks, President Biden delivered transformative middle-class relief," said two senators.

Jessica Corbett ·

'Climate Change Is the Asteroid,' Say Critics of NASA Earth Defense Mission

"The actual clear and present danger to humanity is of course Earth breakdown from burning fossil fuels," said one NASA climate scientist.

Brett Wilkins ·

After Nearly a Decade in Exile, Snowden Granted Russian Citizenship

While the whistleblower said "a little stability" would benefit his family, one digital rights advocate noted that "if the Biden administration dropped the charges against Snowden, Putin wouldn't be able to use him for a PR stunt."

Jessica Corbett ·

Peace Group Urges US and China to Halt 'Blatantly Provocative' Military Maneuvers

The co-chairs of the Committee for a SANE U.S.-China Policy called on American and Chinese leaders to "immediately take unilateral and bilateral steps to reduce the risk of an accidental or unintended clash."

Brett Wilkins ·

In 'Unprecedented Democratic Exercise,' Cubans Approve Inclusive Family Code

"This is a milestone in the advancement of democracy," said global grassroots coalition Progressive International. "Nowhere in the world has a family law been submitted for public consultation and subject to a referendum."

Julia Conley ·

Common Dreams Logo