Texas Rep. Henry Cuellar: The Payday ‘Lone’ Democrat

Texas Congressman Was the Lone Democrat on the Appropriations Committee to Support Amendment Delaying CFPB Payday Lending Rules

WASHINGTON, DC – Yesterday, Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-TX) was the only Democrat on the House Appropriations Committee to support a controversial amendment to the Financial Services and General Government Appropriates Bill that would delay the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s proposed rule reforming the predatory payday lending industry.

In response, Allied Progress release the following statement:

Perhaps Congressman Cuellar didn’t get the memo. It’s not only bad policy to get in bed with the predatory payday lending industry, it’s bad politics,” said Allied Progress executive director Karl Frisch. “Instead of looking out for the wellbeing of hardworking Texans trapped in a cycle of debt, he’s working to protect the payday industry’s bottom line. I’m sure Congressman Cuellar’s constituents back home will be outraged when they learn he’s sabotaging President Obama’s hard work to rein in the worst abuses of this predatory industry because he’s been showered with thousands of dollars in payday lender campaign cash. And they will find out. We are actively reviewing advertising options to bring this act of economic betrayal to their attention.”

Additional Background

Just last week Reps. Debbie Wasserman Schultz and Patrick Murphy abandoned their past support for the payday lending industry in favor of the CFPB proposed rule.

Since last year, Allied Progress has been among those leading the fight to hold the payday lending industry and its powerful allies in Congress accountable. Last September, the organization released a report detailing how a dozen members of Congress were showered with tens of thousands of dollars in payday lender campaign cash within days of taking official actions to benefit the industry. Allied Progress also helped expose the title lender with a shady past who has spent millions of dollars on a pro-payday lending industry ballot measure in South Dakota. For several months, the organization has led rapid response efforts targeting the daily spin and misinformation from the payday lending industry and its allies at think tanks and in Congress.

In March, Allied Progress launched its payday congressional accountability campaign with a television ad targeting Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz in her South Florida district and an online petition at DebtTrapDebbie.com calling on her to “stop sabotaging President Obama’s hard work to hold payday lenders accountable.” The organization noted that Wasserman Schultz has received more than $68,000 in contributions from the industry while in Congress and is co-sponsoring a bill that would delay protections for borrowers while paving the way for payday lenders to continue preying on vulnerable Americans. In April, Allied Progress sponsored two billboards in Wasserman Schultz’s district and a mobile billboard in the nation’s capital. She has been aggressively challenged on her payday lending stance in local and national media subsequent to the campaign’s launch. Allied Progress launched a second $100,000 ad buy in South Florida designed to hold Wasserman Schultz accountable for her continued support of the payday lending industry. And in May, Allied Progress released a report detailing how Florida’s political establishment had received more than $2.5 million from payday lenders since 2009. Just weeks ago, the organization released a scathing mini-doc on the “Florida model” of payday lending.

In addition to holding key Washington decision makers accountable, Allied Progress has led the fight to expose and hold accountable industry-aligned and deceptively named astroturf front groups like “Protect America’s Consumers” and “Floridians for Financial Choice” that have sought to defend payday lenders and other predatory industries from CFPB regulation.

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To speak with Allied Progress about this release, please contact Tory Brown at 703-655-4888 or tory@thepastorumgroup.com.

Allied Progress uses hard-hitting research and creative campaigns to hold powerful special interests accountable and empower hardworking Americans.

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