As the House and Senate prepare to vote on the financial reform bill—containing the Durbin amendment on interchange fees—this week, NACS’ message to retailers is that the battle is far from won.
Three hurdles remain: passing the House, passing the Senate and getting signed into law by President Obama. “Until all three happen, actually, until debit fees have been reduced, we have not won anything,” NACS warned.
The House is expected to vote today, Tuesday, June 29 while the Senate is expected to vote Thursday, July 1.
This week’s expected votes mark the finish line after a nearly decade-long battle by retailers to address the issue of interchange, which makes it more crucial than ever that retailers reach out to their senators and voice their support for the bill.
The banking industry continues to be very active on fighting the financial reform bill, and is distorting what the Durbin amendment would mean for banks.
“They continue to say that small banks and credit unions will be hurt by this bill. The credit unions and community banks are opposing the bill citing this concern. It is erroneous as they have been exempted,” said Lyle Beckwith senior vice president government relations, NACS.
NACS urges retailers not to let the banking industry get way with this, because if the legislation fails to pass, “we don’t know when such an opportunity would present itself again.”
“I don’t believe there are any members of Congress who will vote for or against the overall bill due to the inclusion of the Durbin amendment,” Beckwith noted. Still, he urges retailers to show their support for the overall bill because of the Durbin inclusion.
As the bill moves to a vote, the major impediment to the bill getting passed is the bank tax, Beckwith said. President Barack Obama, along with a majority of congressional Democrats, supports the bank tax, which would require banks to pay a 0.15% tax so the government could regain some of the money it lost when it bailed the largest banks out of the financial crisis. But some Republicans and Democrats are concerned the tax goes too far in punishing banks.
For more information on how you can reach out to your legislators and voice support for the bill: