Senate passes credit card legislation

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Despite talk of Republican resistance, the U.S. Senate overwhelmingly passed a bill today aimed at regulating the credit card industry.

The bill, which follows a similar bill that the House passed April 30, would limit credit card issuers’ ability to raise interest rates and charge fees.

The 90-5 vote was viewed as a major victory for consumer groups and President Obama, who wanted to sign a credit card bill into law by Memorial Day.

South Dakota Democratic Sen. Tim Johnson was among the handful of senators who voted against the bill. The credit card industry is important in several states, including South Dakota and South Carolina.

Johnson issued this press release after voting:

“…Many parts of this legislation will be good for the consumer, and will ensure fairness and transparency for consumers engaged in credit card transactions.

“That said this is a time when millions of consumers are already facing lower credit limits and higher interest rates on their credit cards because of decreasing credit availability and continued economic instability; I am very concerned about the unintended consequences of this legislation.  The Federal Reserve set in place new credit card regulations in December of last year, well aware of the economic situation in our country and the potential for worsening conditions.  We should allow those rules to be implemented instead of layering more regulations on top.

 “While I think it is vitally important to protect consumers from unfair and abusive credit card practices, we cannot ignore the fact that the effects of this legislation will extend beyond the credit card market.

“This legislation could further limit access to credit for consumers and potentially jeopardize thousands of jobs in South Dakota.   Those risks are too large for me to support this legislation.”

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