House passes landmark credit-card regulation bill

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. House today lined up again behind the landmark credit-card regulation bill, clearing the way for President Obama to sign the legislation by Memorial Day, as he requested.

The measure, which would limit credit card issuers’ ability to raise interest rates and charge fees, passed 361 to 64.

As with the first version of the bill that passed earlier this month, all five of Minnesota’s House Democrats, plus Third District Rep. Erik Paulsen, voted for the legislation. Meanwhile, Republican Rep. John Kline voted against the measure. Republican Rep. Michele Bachmann, who had to return to Minnesota because of the death of her father-in-law, did not vote.

Rep. Stephanie Herseth Sandlin of South Dakota was the only Democrat who joined Republicans in voting against the measure. South Dakota Sens. Democrat Tim Johnson and Republican John Thune voted against the bill on Tuesday.

All three lawmakers have cited the importance of the credit card industry in South Dakota, as well as the danger of losing more jobs if additional regulations are passed, as reasons for not supporting the legislation.

Although details still need to be hammered out in conference, the version that the House passed today is stricter than the version it previously passed.

The bill requires that promotional rates on new cards be valid for at least six months, forbids issuing credit cards to those under the age of 21 who fail to show a reasonable ability to pay or fail to provide a co-signer, prevents card issuers from raising interest rates on existing balances unless the consumer is at least 60 days late, locks in the interest rate for at least one year after activation, and takes effect within nine months, instead of the 12 months, that had previously been established.

The Senate bill had also included an unrelated measure that would allow visitors to national parks to carry guns — an amendment that Sen. Amy Klobuchar D-Minn. supported along with 66 other Senators.

The House passed the amendment today on a separate vote of 279 to 147.

Minnesota Democratic Reps. Tim Walz, Collin Peterson and Jim Oberstar joined Republican Reps. John Kline and Erik Paulsen in supporting the measure. Meanwhile Minnesota Democratic Reps. Betty McCollum and Keith Ellison, who represent the Twin Cities, voted against the provision.

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Comments (1)

  1. Submitted by Larry Wall on 05/21/2009 - 01:49 am.

    Maybe soon we will be strapping guns on our hips and carrying them everywhere we go. Just like the days in the old Wild West.

    Except now we don’t have a Matt Dillon to at least keep pistols off the streets of Dodge.

    In the meantime, I guess I’ll just have to keep my family away from the National Parks.

    And when a politician eventually introduces an amendment to an otherwise good bill that permits people to carry loaded handguns anywhere they go, I guess I’ll just have to keep my family mostly behind locked doors.

    Just like many tried to do in the days of the old West.

    We have by far the highest gun death rate of any of the western industrial nations (and also higher than many of the non-industrial nations).

    I worked and lived in Europe for many years. When a homicide by gunfire occurred, it usually made the national news. Back in my home state here in the U.S., a gun death sometimes doesn’t even make the county news. And there’s usually 2 or 3 a month in this relatively small county. In many large urban areas of the nation, there’s that many or more every night (especially on the weekends).

    When will we lose this cowboy mentality? Or at least find another Matt Dillon who will exercise a little common sense control of handguns.

    We are still not allowed to hunt or target shoot in national parks or wildlife game reserves. So this bill is not about permitting the hunting of game or rifle target shooting (both of which I strongly support).

    I just want to make sure my family is relatively safe – especially if I am unable to be with them for some reason.

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