June 6, 2011 - NAFCU lobbyists say that a Senate vote on legislation to delay the Federal Reserve’s interchange rule could happen as early as this week, and the association is urging its members to step up their calls, letters and visits to senators.
With the Senate returning to work today following last week’s recess period, NAFCU is seeking to build more support for S. 575, a bill that would delay the Federal Reserve’s proposed debit interchange fee cap so it’s impact on smaller financial institutions can be studied before it is put into practice. It is expected that the bill’s chief sponsors, Sens. Jon Tester, D-Mont., and Bob Corker, R-Tenn., will try to offer their legislation as an amendment on the Senate floor this week, and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., has said that they should get a vote.
Originally, Tester and Corker sought a 24-month delay but have since agreed to cut that down to a 15-month delay. That would provide six months for study, six months for regulators to make any needed revisions and three months for implementation.
At this stage, it still remains unclear whether or not S. 575 has the 60 votes needed to pass the Senate. Tester said prior to the recess that there are enough votes, but that claim was challenged by Sen. Richard Durbin, D-Ill., the author of the debit rule’s underlying statutory language (National Journal Daily, May 25). Durbin has said he does not want the measure brought up for a vote.
NAFCU President Fred Becker, in an e-mail to members last week, pointed to the recent breaches at Sony and Michaels Stores in underscoring the potential damaging effects of the Federal Reserve’s fee-cap rule. “We need to make sure that Congress knows that in situations like these, it often falls on the credit union to help make the consumer whole,” he wrote. “Senators need to know it is imperative that S. 575 passes.”
To contact senators, dial their district offices; for their Capitol Hill offices, dial 202-224-3121. To send messages online, go to SaveYourDebitCard.com. Credit unions are also urged to add a link to that site from their home pages to facilitate their members’ participation.