A bipartisan group of lawmakers is pressing the Trump administration to let payday lenders gain access to small business rescue money, going to bat for companies that have been accused of engaging in predatory behavior toward lower-income people.
The move comes as officials try to quell public criticism by stopping hedge funds and publicly traded companies from benefiting from the program, which is designed to avert massive job losses and resumes on Monday after running out of funds because of high demand.
In a letter signed by 24 House Republicans and four Democrats, lawmakers asked the Treasury Department and Small Business Administration to open up Paycheck Protection Program loan applications to “small-size nonbanks,” including installment lenders and so-called community development financial institutions, which focus their lending on underserved populations.
Payday lenders weren’t explicitly mentioned, but a spokesperson for Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer (R-Mo.), one of the lawmakers who led the letter, confirmed the intent was to include them in the request.
In the letter sent Thursday, the House members said the companies provide their constituents with access to financial services and have been deemed “essential” businesses allowed to stay open amid stay-at-home orders. They said that many have fewer than 500 employees and that they don’t plan to offer Paycheck Protection Program loans to their customers.
Included in this group are Democrats Henry Cuellar and Collin Peterson, plus 2 other Democrats not named in the article.
Cuellar and Peterson are some of the worst Democrats in Congress, and they should be hung out to dry over this.