Rep. Kristi Noem, whom do you support more, soldiers or bankers?
The Defense Department has proposed regulations to close loopholes in the Military Lending Act that allow payday lenders to exploit military families. Republicans, doing the work of bankers, are trying to block the military’s proposed usury protections by requiring another study (on top of five already done) that would delay implementation until after 2016. Democrats led by Illinois Rep. Tammy Duckworth managed to kill that proposal in House Armed Services on a narrow 32–30 vote, with the help of five Republicans.
But now Ohio Rep. Steve Stivers is trying to bring a new delaying tactic to the House floor for a vote. The Stivers amendment would require the Defense Department to certify its Military Lending Act database and make that data available to commercial information-services providers. Why the military should have to give private businesses information about its soldiers before protecting those soldiers from usury escapes me.
The White House calls the Stivers amendment what it is, an effort to “carry water for the payday loan industry, and allow them to continue to target in a predatory fashion military families who in many cases are already in a vulnerable financial state.”
Rep. Noem likes to stand next to soldiers for pictures. But she also likes to get campaign cash from the banking industry, which is her fourth-largest donor. With whom will she stand in this week’s vote?
Related: The Consumer Finance Protection Bureau is working on usury protections for the rest of us. CFPB has proposed making payday lenders act like the banks they claim they are and verify their borrowers’ income to make sure they can afford the interest payments.