President Obama highlighted a federal rule he’s finalizing on predatory lending and the military to make the case to the VFW that he’s working to make things better for America’s military families. The predatory lending rule, which the Obama administration publicly proposed last year, expands the categories of payday and short-term loans subject to added protections under the Military Lending Act. The White House said in the past, lenders have exploited loopholes in the regulations and targeted military members with exorbitant interest rates. The revised version will cover larger or longer-term payday loans, plus title loans, installment loans and credit cards, subjecting them to an interest rate cap of 36 percent and other protections (although the 36% is certainly still very high compared to the upper limit of around 8% through the 1980s)
Obama started off the week Monday signing a bill to allow all veterans to receive official IDs from Veterans Affairs even if they don’t meet certain criteria for VA services. Obama is also speaking about serious and persistent problems at the Department of Veterans Affairs. That agency has been under intense scrutiny for more than a year over waitlists and other shortcomings in the VA health system. Last week, the VA said it can’t count how many veterans died while waiting to sign up for health care, and may have to close some hospitals if Congress does not address a $2.5 billion shortfall.
The military community has also been on edge over the killing of four Marines and a sailor last week in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Obama has pledged a prompt and thorough investigation into an attack that authorities have blamed on a 24-year-old Kuwait-born man. On Monday, South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley said she authorized a review of security at National Guard installations and recruitment centers, and U.S. military officials have said security at recruitment centers should be reviewed.