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MIAMI (CBSMiami) – South Florida Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz, chair of the Democratic National Committee, reversed Friday in her support for Florida payday loan stores and her support for postponing strict federal oversight operations that provide small loans to poor clients at exorbitant prices. rates.
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On Tuesday, a group of activists ran an ad attacking Wasserman Schultz for his support for payday check stores, which some have characterized as legal loan sharking.
Wasserman Schultz called the announcement distorted at a press conference on Tuesday.
“The ad, if you look at it, very clearly brings together the words I used in an interview with local CBS (WFOR / CBS4),” said Wasserman Schultz.
But her words were clear in the interview the ad was based on, and she repeated them on Tuesday.
“The working poor have nothing but payday loans to turn to. They are therefore necessary to ensure that people have short-term access to capital, ”she said.
She supported a bill in Congress that would delay strict federal controls on payday loan transactions by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
Under the scathing attack, Wasserman Schultz did an about-face on payday loan oversight on Friday.
The congressman released a statement saying, “I support the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau in its efforts to protect Americans from predatory lending … I look forward to working with my constituents and consumer groups as the CFPB works to a final rule. “
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Wasserman Schultz praised parts of the proposed rule for its strict controls.
Wasserman Schultz previously called Florida’s payday loan regulation a “model” for the nation. The proposed federal rules would be much stricter. Payday loan transactions in Florida charge interest over 400%. Many customers are unable to repay and are skyrocketing in debt.
Wasserman Schwartz’s very first challenger in a primary election for Congress rushed his overthrow.
“It’s a big rocker. She surrendered. She just realized she was on the wrong side and couldn’t stand up for the indefensible, ”said Tim Canova, law professor at Nova University.
Canova criticized Wasserman Schultz for accepting thousands of dollars from the payday loan industry.
“Who funds payday lenders? The big Wall Street banks, ”Canova said. “She took hundreds of thousands of dollars from the big banks on Wall Street.”
The enthusiastic endorsement of Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders has boosted Canova’s campaign. He has amassed nearly $ 2 million in contributions which he says averages less than $ 20 each. He sees Wasserman Schultz as a Hillary Clinton lookalike.
“She’s an insider who took millions of dollars in business money. There will be a progressive alternative for people (to vote for) for the first time in his career, ”Canova said.
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A spokesperson for Wasserman Schultz said she was unavailable for an interview on Friday.