By Steve Stanton
Even after the latest coronavirus relief bill, Democrats are still playing politics to try to cram through parts of their agenda that will ultimately hurt the Americans who need help the most.
Coronavirus is an unprecedented challenge that has caused millions of Americans to be faced with a financial crisis through no fault of their own, but one that does not appear on track to be ending anytime soon. As of today, 6.6 million Americans have filed for unemployment, a record number that marks one of the most devastating in our lifetimes.
Yet, in the spirit of “never let a good crisis go to waste,” Democrats have been playing politics with coronavirus relief efforts, with some Democrats like California Governor Gavin Newsom even going so far as to tell Democrats in Washington that coronavirus is an “opportunity” to implement a liberal agenda that never could have passed on its own.
And Democrats in Washington are doing just that. In the phase 3 relief bill, liberals in Congress tried to cram in everything from the green new deal to funding for the arts to covering private union pension debt, items that have nothing to do with coronavirus and will not bring Americans any relief.
Now, Democrats are also trying to shove in a massive restriction of consumer lending credit as House Majority Leader Nancy Pelosi pushes for a Phase 4 of Coronavirus relief, capping interest rates on very short term small loans at 36%. Before the crisis, this measure was considered so far left that it never made it through the House Financial Services Committee for a full vote in Congress.
This is because it would have seriously limited access to loans for the millions of Americans who need funds in an emergency. Yet, undeterred by their failure to pass this measure in Congress, Sen. Sherrod Brown and Rep. Chris Van Hollen announced that they are seeking to include the rate cap in coronavirus relief.
With millions of workers unable to make ends meet, the last thing Congress should be focused on is trying to put the small-dollar lending industry out of business, which will inevitably result in these workers being unable to get access to loans that a time when they need them the most.
But, that’s exactly what this Democrat proposal will do – it would cut off financial lifelines in the form of credit for millions of Americans who now find themselves in a precarious financial situation. To put it simply, Democrats are trying to frame a rate cap proposal as “relief” when in fact it will make everyone worse off. If Congress allows this to happen, the people who suffer the most won’t be the industry that Democrats so badly want to kill but will be the American workers who are struggling to get through this.
As access to credit from these small-dollar legitimate lenders goes away, Americans will then be forced into finding more ways of borrowing money that is predatory and sometimes unregulated altogether. It’s time for Democrats to stop playing politics with American lives.