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Payday lenders may benefit from President-elect Trump’s victory, as unified Republican control of the federal government poses a threat to the payday lending rule proposed in June by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

Congressional Republicans have said the rule is a top target, and they have several means of stopping it, although advocates of the rule won’t let them do so without paying a price.

The rule, which was proposed in June, is “dead in its tracks,” predicted Allan Kaplinsky, the head of consumer financial services practice at Ballard Spahr, which represents some firms in disputes with the CFPB.

Speaking in downtown Washington Thursday, House Financial Services Committee chairman Jeb Hensarling mentioned the rule as one of two major financial rules “promulgated by the unelected and the unaccountable” that he hopes to work with Trump to reverse.

The rule is meant to prevent borrowers from falling into “debt traps” of expensive short-term loans. It would impose terms on lenders, requiring them to ascertain that borrowers are able to repay the loans or setting strict terms on the loans they can disburse.

The industry has warned that the rule could wipe them out and would only cut off a lifeline for desperate people. Advocates — including labor, civil rights, and religious groups — have accused the entire industry of preying on the poor. As a result of the sharp disagreement, the Bureau received over 420,000 comments before the comment period ended in October.

Now, Republicans could have several chances to stop the rule from ever going into effect.

One possibility is that the rule may never be finalized.

Observers agree that it isn’t likely that the agency could hustle the rule out the door before Trump takes office. The current Obama-appointed director, Richard Cordray, has a term that runs through 2018, but some Bureau-watchers speculate that he would step down with the end of the Obama administration. A Trump nominee who replaced him could simply not finalize the rule.

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If Cordray were to stay at the Bureau, however, congressional Republicans would have the option of disapproving the rule through the Congressional Review Act. Through that process, the House and Senate could vote on an expedited basis, with a simple majority in the Senate, to stop the rule from going into effect.

Alternatively, Congress could pass legislation to replace the rule.

“I would not take anything off the table to address this flawed payday rule — be it legislation or the Congressional Review Act,” said Dennis Ross, a Florida Republican. Ross is the author of bipartisan legislation in the House of Representatives to block the Bureau rule and give states the choice of the more permissive rules in effect in Florida, which he helped write as a member of the legislature.

Advocates of regulation for payday lending suggested that any such move by the GOP Congress would run into fierce opposition, including from many people who voted for Trump for president on the basis of his populist message.

“You just won … on a message of economic populism, and here you are then going after a rule that is specifically designed to un-rig the system?” asked Gynnie Robnett, head of the payday lending campaign at Americans for Financial Reform, a group that advocates for stricter rules on the financial industry.

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Lauren Saunders, an associate director at the National Consumer Law Center, noted one datapoint indicating that Trump voters also favor regulation of payday lenders: More than 75 percent of voters in South Dakota, which Trump won with 61 percent of the vote, voted in favor of setting a 36 percent interest rate cap on payday loans. “Normal people think that high-rate predatory lending should be outlawed,” said Saunders.

Furthermore, she noted, there is little to suggest that Trump himself opposes the Bureau’s rule.

Nevertheless, the rule appears to be a top target of congressional Republicans, who also want broader changes to the Bureau to increase Congress’ control of it.

There is also one more looming threat to the Bureau’s current design, which was intended to give it maximum independence and authority: A federal appellate court ruled in October that its structure is unconstitutional and that its single director must serve at the command of the president. Currently, the president can only fire the director for cause.

The Obama administration is likely to appeal that decision and it could be many months or years before it is resolved. Should the ruling stand, however, Trump could get the ability to ensure that the nominee of his choosing is in place.

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