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Why one Republican voted against the CHOICE Act

Joe Mont | June 14, 2017

We recently wrote about the “party-line” passage of the Financial CHOICE Act, a ‘repeal and replace” attack on the Dodd-Frank Act in the House of Representatives. What we initially overlooked was that the 233–186 wasn’t neatly divided along parties.

Rep. Walter Jones (R-N.C.) was the sole Republican who voted against the legislation. In a statement, he said that the bill, should it become law, would “harm America’s service members.”

Of particular concern, Jones said, were provisions in the bill that would remove the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s ability to regulate small-dollar loans, like payday loans, despite evidence of pervasive predatory practices focused on service members. 

Earlier this month, national veterans and active duty service organizations, including the Fleet Reserve Association Veterans of Foreign Wars sent letters to the House flagging these provisions as problematic. Consumer groups have also raised concerns about the bill’s impact on military families.

“When service members are being taken advantage of, it’s wrong for Congress to take the cop off the beat,” Jones said. “Doing so will not only hurt men and women in uniform and their families, it will negatively affect the readiness of our armed forces and cost the taxpayers.  As the Department of Defense has stated in a report to Congress: ‘predatory lending undermines military readiness, harms the morale of troops and their families, and adds to the cost of fielding an all-volunteer fighting force.’”