A few weeks ago, the banking industry was able to kill off legislation that would have allowed bankruptcy judges to cram-down mortgage payments for troubled homeowners, leading Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) to proclaim that the banks “are still the most powerful lobby on Capitol Hill. And they frankly own the place.”
Durbin is back at it again today, joining Sen. Kit Bond (R-MO) to propose an amendment to the Credit Cardholder’s Bill of Rights that “would allow discounts for debit cards and ban retaliation against retailers who charge less for transactions that don’t involve credit cards,” which is somehow not prevented right now. And guess who is standing in the way, according to the Wall Street Journal:
Heavy pressure from banks could force lawmakers to shelve the measure Thursday to avoid sinking the broader bill.
Currently, merchants face penalties if they offer discounts to consumers who pay with cash or debit cards, and the banks and credit card companies want to preserve the status quo. Andrew Leonard summed up the situation like this:
I’m with Durbin, as is, I think, a large swath of the general public. How is it even possible that the banking industry could exert “heavy pressure” after having been bailed out by Congress to the tune of so many hundreds of billions? It is preposterous.
Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV) has said that he hopes to have the complete credit card bill pass by next Friday.