Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Senate Rejects Limit on Credit-Card Interest Rates

Thanks for spirit and whiterosebuddy for the hat tips.

Senator Dick Durbin told us:

The Banks Own The Senate.

From The New York Times

May 13, 2009, 5:49 pm
Senate Rejects Limit on Credit-Card Interest Rates
By Carl Hulse

Despite complaints that banks and credit card companies are gouging customers by charging outrageous interest rates, the Senate on Wednesday easily turned back an effort to cap interest rates at 15 percent.

The effort by Senator Bernie Sanders, the Vermont independent, drew only 33 votes and needed 60, with a bipartisan group of 60 senators opposing it as the Senate pushed its credit card overhaul toward the finish line. Some Democrats and consumer groups have said that an interest cap is needed to put real teeth into an otherwise solid bill.

Other backers of the measure calculated that an interest rate ceiling would doom the popular legislation. The banking industry, which had some heavy-weight representatives monitoring the vote off of the Senate floor, warned that an interest rate limit could cause a sour reaction in the financial markets.

But Mr. Sanders said the card companies and banks were engaged in conduct that could get others hauled into court. He said one-third of all credit card holders are paying interest above 20 percent and as high as 41 percent.

“When banks are charging 30 percent interest rates, they are not making credit available,” said Mr. Sanders, who noted credit unions are limited to 15 percent. “They are engaged in loan-sharking.”

After the effort failed, Senator Christopher J. Dodd of Connecticut, the Democratic chairman of the banking committee, proposed that the Federal Reserve be asked to provide an analysis of how Congress could rein in interest rates.

Senators said they hoped to finish up the credit card bill as early as Thursday, coinciding with a town hall meeting by President Obama on credit card issues in New Mexico.



U.S. Senate Roll Call Votes 111th Congress - 1st Session

as compiled through Senate LIS by the Senate Bill Clerk under the direction of the Secretary of the Senate

Vote Summary

Question: On the Motion (Motion to Waive CBA Sanders Amdt. No. 1062 )
Vote Number: 191 Vote Date: May 13, 2009, 04:24 PM
Required For Majority: 3/5 Vote Result: Motion Rejected
Amendment Number: S.Amdt. 1062 to S.Amdt. 1058 to H.R. 627 (Credit Cardholders' Bill of Rights Act of 2009)
Statement of Purpose: To establish a national consumer credit usury rate.
Vote Counts: YEAs 33
NAYs 60
Not Voting 6
Vote Summary By Senator Name By Vote Position By Home State

Alphabetical by Senator Name Akaka (D-HI), Nay
Alexander (R-TN), Nay
Barrasso (R-WY), Nay
Baucus (D-MT), Nay
Bayh (D-IN), Nay
Begich (D-AK), Yea
Bennet (D-CO), Yea
Bennett (R-UT), Nay
Bingaman (D-NM), Nay
Bond (R-MO), Nay
Boxer (D-CA), Yea
Brown (D-OH), Yea
Brownback (R-KS), Nay
Bunning (R-KY), Nay
Burr (R-NC), Nay
Burris (D-IL), Yea
Byrd (D-WV), Nay
Cantwell (D-WA), Nay
Cardin (D-MD), Yea
Carper (D-DE), Nay
Casey (D-PA), Yea
Chambliss (R-GA), Nay
Coburn (R-OK), Nay
Cochran (R-MS), Nay
Collins (R-ME), Nay
Conrad (D-ND), Yea
Corker (R-TN), Nay
Cornyn (R-TX), Nay
Crapo (R-ID), Nay
DeMint (R-SC), Nay
Dodd (D-CT), Yea
Dorgan (D-ND), Yea
Durbin (D-IL), Yea
Ensign (R-NV), Nay
Enzi (R-WY), Nay
Feingold (D-WI), Yea
Feinstein (D-CA), Yea
Gillibrand (D-NY), Yea
Graham (R-SC), Nay
Grassley (R-IA), Yea
Gregg (R-NH), Nay
Hagan (D-NC), Nay
Harkin (D-IA), Yea
Hatch (R-UT), Nay
Hutchison (R-TX), Nay
Inhofe (R-OK), Nay
Inouye (D-HI), Yea
Isakson (R-GA), Nay
Johanns (R-NE), Nay
Johnson (D-SD), Nay
Kaufman (D-DE), Nay
Kennedy (D-MA), Not Voting
Kerry (D-MA), Yea
Klobuchar (D-MN), Yea
Kohl (D-WI), Yea
Kyl (R-AZ), Nay
Landrieu (D-LA), Nay
Lautenberg (D-NJ), Yea
Leahy (D-VT), Not Voting
Levin (D-MI), Yea
Lieberman (ID-CT), Nay
Lincoln (D-AR), Nay
Lugar (R-IN), Nay
Martinez (R-FL), Nay
McCain (R-AZ), Nay
McCaskill (D-MO), Yea
McConnell (R-KY), Nay
Menendez (D-NJ), Yea
Merkley (D-OR), Yea
Mikulski (D-MD), Not Voting
Murkowski (R-AK), Nay
Murray (D-WA), Nay
Nelson (D-FL), Nay
Nelson (D-NE), Nay
Pryor (D-AR), Nay
Reed (D-RI), Yea
Reid (D-NV), Yea
Risch (R-ID), Nay
Roberts (R-KS), Nay
Rockefeller (D-WV), Not Voting
Sanders (I-VT), Yea
Schumer (D-NY), Yea
Sessions (R-AL), Nay
Shaheen (D-NH), Nay
Shelby (R-AL), Nay
Snowe (R-ME), Nay
Specter (D-PA), Nay
Stabenow (D-MI), Nay
Tester (D-MT), Nay
Thune (R-SD), Nay
Udall (D-CO), Yea
Udall (D-NM), Yea
Vitter (R-LA), Nay
Voinovich (R-OH), Not Voting
Warner (D-VA), Nay
Webb (D-VA), Yea
Whitehouse (D-RI), Not Voting
Wicker (R-MS), Nay
Wyden (D-OR), Yea


Liberal Arts Dude said...

Independent Sen. Bernard Sanders of Vermont is consistently one of the rare few politicians who are true champions of the interests of working class, poor and middle class folks. He has the track record to prove it. Too bad he and those like him are outnumbered and outgunned in the Senate and in Congress. We need to support politicians like Sanders and others like him.

A couple of resources of interest:

1) Middle Class Report Card for Congress by the Drum Major Institute

2) Bernard Sanders' book, Outsider in the House

Andre said...

The best Congress money can buy.

I was never against the idea of paying interest. When you borrow somebody else's money, you are essentially paying for that service. No harm, no foul. Where we start to get into a mess is where these companies are charging OUTRAGEOUS (and usually hidden) fees for their service of loaning. 6-8% is one thing. 20-25% is another ball of wax.

How the Senate could side with these gougers is beyond me. I guess I need to have a long talk with Senator Stabenow (D-MI). Rejecting CC limits in one of the most economically depraved states is almost an impeachable offense.