Federal Legislative Week in Review
May 24, 2011
May 24, 2011
As the July 21 deadline nears, our champions in Congress are working hard to broker a deal that can garner the needed votes in the Senate to delay implementation of the Durbin Amendment.
Last week, Senator Jon Tester (D-MT) proposed amending his legislation to change the delay of the interchange rule from 2 years to 15 months. The industry supports this change as any delay would be helpful in getting an interchange rule that will be more rational and beneficial to credit unions. It also coincides more closely with the House legislation, which includes a 12-month delay.
In another sign that the debate is heating up, the National Retail Federation (NRF) announced the kickoff of the “60 Day Swipe Fee Reform” campaign. We believe this is the NRF’s response to our strong grassroots efforts to delay the rule. The NRF is one of the largest groups that makes up the merchants’ coalition, and the focus of the campaign will be on turning out an intense grassroots effort among retailers, in particular chain restaurants nationwide. They also announced a national fly-in, which will take place in June, coupled with a nationwide media relations campaign.
During these final two months before the July 21 deadline, it will be critical that we keep up our messaging around this issue, in particular with our federal delegation. The retailers will no doubt spend their time with Congress attempting to negate all of our arguments. Last week, we shared letters with our Northwest senators connecting the recent Michael’s data breach with interchange fees and fraud costs, and emphasizing that financial institutions pay all the card reissuance costs. We hope this unfortunate example of fraud will help our delegation understand the real-life implications of an interchange fee cap that does not take into account fraud costs.
The House is back this week after a weeklong district work period. Both chambers are in session this week before the Senate goes on recess next week.
Questions about the interchange issue? Contact a member of the Association’s Legislative Affairs team: