Reid Will Bring Credit Card Bill to Floor

Posted April 30, 2009 at 12:31pm

The Senate next week will take up a measure to increase consumer protections for credit card holders, even though Senate Democratic leaders acknowledge that they are unsure if they have the votes to ward off a filibuster.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said the public outcry over credit card abuses, such as raising interest rates retroactively, will hopefully provide the momentum he needs to find the 60 votes necessary to stop anyone from blocking the bill. Opposition from Senators of both parties who have major credit card interests in their states is expected.

“Democrats, Republicans, Independents in this country really want something done,— Reid told reporters. “And I feel kind of sorry for Senators that won’t support the legislation, I think it could really backfire.—

But Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) said he is unsure where the votes lie at this point.

“We don’t test consumer issues around the Senate very often,— he said. “It’s rare that we have anything that really is consumer protection and so, we’ll see what happens. They haven’t fared very well in previous Congresses, but they were Republican majority Congresses.—

Senate Democratic Conference Vice Chairman Charles Schumer (N.Y.) — who represents many financial interests, including credit card companies — said he has come to the conclusion that previous efforts to increase the information credit card companies give consumers are no longer effective at preventing abuses.

“I have been involved in this issue a long time and had always believed in disclosure,— he said. “The bottom line is this: Disclosure doesn’t work anymore. Even with disclosure, consumers are taken advantage of.—

Schumer said the “most egregious thing— that companies do is raise interest rates “for virtually no reason at all.—