Tester to Push Interchange Delay Measure in Small Business Bill
Sen. Jon Tester (D-Mont.) will attempt to offer his bill to delay the implementation of the Federal Reserve’s debit interchange rule as part of a bill to fund the Small Business Administration currently being discussed in the Senate.
If it is allowed to be offered, the amendment, which has 16 co-sponsors, would likely require 60 votes to pass, as Senate Majority Whip Richard Durbin (D-Ill.), who sponsored the original amendment to mandate that the Fed write a rule, has said he will filibuster attempts to weaken it.
Tester’s decision comes in the wake of Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke’s announcement that his agency won’t have the final rule in place by the April 21 deadline because of the more than 11,000 comment letters it received. He wrote lawmakers that the central bank plans to have the regulations completed by the July 21 deadline for them to take effect.
According to the proposed rule, the allowable costs for interchange would be limited to no more than the issuer's allowable costs divided by the number of electronic debit transactions on which the issuer received or charged an interchange transaction fee in the calendar year. Or the issuer could receive debit interchange capped at 12 cents per transaction.
According to the provisions of the financial overhaul bill passed by Congress last year, the final rule was to be approved by April 21 and in effect by July 21. Tester’s bill would delay implementation by two years and a companion bill introduced by Rep. Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) would delay it by one year. Both bills call for a study of the issue by several banking regulators, including the NCUA.
To read the Senate bill, S. 575 or the House bill, H.R 1081, go to: http://thomas.loc.gov