Debit Interchange Delay Effort Continues on Hill
Efforts to delay the implementation of the Federal Reserve’s debit interchange rule continued on Capitol Hill and at the grassroots level last week.
Rep. Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) told Credit Union Times that there was strong support in the House for her bill to delay implementation of the rule by one year, though she declined to predict how it would fare in a vote.
Capito, who chairs the subcommittee that oversees credit unions, said her chamber won’t take any action until it see whether the Senate acts, because that chamber has "a steeper hill to climb."
A federal judge refused to dismiss a lawsuit by TCF Financial Corp. challenging the constitutionality of the rule, as the Fed requested. But U.S. District Judge Lawrence L. Piersol in Sioux Falls, S.D., also denied TCF’s request for a preliminary injunction to stop the rule from being enforced.
Capito’s bill, which has 71 co-sponsors in the 435-member House, was endorsed by Rep. Barney Frank, the senior Democrat on the House Financial Services Committee.
"The Federal Reserve’s announcement that they cannot meet the deadline on interchange fees confirms my view that this is the only part of the financial reform bill that needs to be amended. For this reason, I support legislative action to postpone the deadline so that we can revisit it," Frank said in a statement.
Frank was one of the two key authors of the financial overhaul that was passed last year. The interchange provision was added in the Senate after the House passed a version without it. During the House-Senate conference committee to reconcile the versions, senators said they wouldn’t support the bill without the interchange provision.
Sen. Jon Tester (D-Mont.) is still trying to gather support for his bill, which would delay implementation for two years. He needs to get 60 votes to overcome a likely filibuster. His bill has 16 co-sponsors in the 100-member Senate.
Tester said he would seek opportunities to offer the proposal as an amendment to other bills and as a standalone measure. At deadline, he hadn’t yet been able to do so.
Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), the No. 3 member of his party’s leadership, said there is momentum for legislation that would delay the implementation of the Federal Reserve’s rule in regulating debit interchange.
The amendment sponsored by Senate Majority Whip Richard Durbin authorizing the Fed to regulate interchange was passed quickly, and the Senate didn’t have all the hearings on it as it had on the rest of the financial overhaul bill, Schumer added.
He predicted there will be a vote on the bill to delay implementation but didn’t indicate how he would vote.
CUNA and NAFCU redoubled their lobbying efforts in Washington and at the grassroots level.
Credit union members who want to contact lawmakers to urge them to support legislation delaying the Federal Reserve’s debit interchange rule can do so through a phone number set up by CUNA.
When consumers call. they receive recorded briefing on the issue and can be connected to their senator or representative. The number to call is 877-422-3525.
CUNA President/CEO Bill Cheney and Independent Community Bankers of America President/CEO Camden Fine lobbied several lawmakers together on the issue.