WASHINGTON-Senate Banking Chairman Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) finally introduced a bill Oct. 17 to renew the federal preemptions in the Fair Credit Reporting Act with added identity theft protections. With that technicality out of the way, the legislation can now move onto the Senate floor, which credit union lobbyists expect to occur by Halloween. The Senate Banking Committee previously marked up a draft version of the bill until S. 1753, National Consumer Credit Reporting System Improvement Act of 2003, was introduced. The only foreseen potential hurdle for the legislation is an expected amendment to either carve out the new California privacy law or make that law the national standard by the Democratic California Senators Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer. Credit union lobbyists do not believe the amendment has the steam to pass. The day the bill was introduced, a bipartisan group of Senate Banking Committee members urged the bill be considered "as soon as possible." The seven Republicans-Robert Bennett (Utah), John Sununu (N.H.), Mike Enzi (Wyo.), Chuck Hagel (Neb.), Jim Bunning (Ky.), Elizabeth Dole (N.C.), and Rick Santorum (Pa.)-and four Democrats-Debbie Stabenow (Mich.), Tim Johnson (S.D.), Evan Bayh (Ind.), and Tom Carper (Del.)-noted that the committee devoted a lot of time to debating and drafting the legislation. "These uniform national standards allow all Americans, whether they live in the same town for 50 years, or relocate every year, to have access to credit to buy a home, lease a car, send their children to college, or simply use a credit card to purchase movie tickets over the phone," the letter read. The Banking Committee members recognized that time should be allotted for debate of amendments that may be offered, but that a time limit should be set immediately to usher a conferenced bill quickly to the president's desk.

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