‘Biparty’ group of lawmakers want to grant coronavirus loans to vicious payday lenders

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This article originally appeared on Common Dreams. You can read it here.

Biparty group of House lawmakers are pressing the Trump administration to make coronavirus relief loans available to payday lenders for small businesses, financial institutions known to prey on desperate borrowers with misleading advertising and exorbitant interest rates.

In one letter Last week, to Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin and Small Business Administration chief Jovita Carranza, 24 Republicans and four Democrats said “small non-banks” should be eligible for loans from the Check Protection Program. First-come, first-served (PPP) payroll designed for companies with less than 500 employees.


Politics reported that if “payday lenders were not explicitly mentioned” in the letter, “a spokesperson for Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer (R-Mo.), one of the lawmakers who spearheaded the letter, confirmed that the intention was to include them in the request. “

“These companies have been completely excluded from the PPP, which has forced many of them to lay off their highly qualified employees who would have preferred to keep their jobs rather than seek unemployment assistance from the government,” the lawmakers wrote.

In addition to the two dozen Republicans, the letter was signed by Representatives Henry Cuellar (D-Texas), Collin Peterson (D-Minn.), Alcee Hastings (D-Fla.) And Al Lawson (D-Fla.).

“It’s fucking scandalous”, Maurice BP-Weeks, co-director of the Center for Action on Race and the Economy, tweeted of the letter.

Amanda Fischer, policy director at the Washington Center for Equitable Growth, said Politics that providing small business loans to payday lenders “would increase inequalities for low-wage workers who are suffering the most from this recession.”

“The companies that now seek government help are the same that ruthlessly pursue borrowers when they cannot pay their debts,” Fischer said. “Families need better unemployment insurance, additional direct payments, and mortgage and rent forgiveness, not predatory taxpayer-funded loans.”

In one Tweeter Last Friday, Fischer suggested sarcastically, “How about giving payday lenders small business loans, but we charge 480% interest and can seize their profits for repayment?”

Pressure from lawmakers to make payday lenders eligible for PPP loans has come as millions of small businesses struggle to apply for and obtain program funds.

President Donald Trump on Friday promulgated an aid package that included $ 310 billion in additional financing for the PPP, which quickly ran out of money after millions of companies, including many large listed companies– rushed to participate in the program.

Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (DN.Y.) has expressed her opposition to granting relief to payday lenders in a Tweeter on Sunday.

“Payday lenders exploit millions of working families through predatory practices,” said Gillibrand. “Congress should not support them during this crisis.”

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