Today, on the Senate floor, Republicans objected to a motion by Chris Dodd (D-CT) to immediately take up a bill to move up the effective date on the CARD Act, which was passed several months ago. In the intervening time, credit card companies have been jacking up their rates in what Dodd described as “a last-ditch attempt” to pad their profits until all of the provisions of the CARD Act, which prevents arbitrary interest rate, fee and finance charge increases on existing balances, take effect. The bill Dodd sought would have frozen all rates, charges and fees until all of the CARD Act’s provisions became law. It would also have reduced rates for every cardholder who saw arbitrary rate increases in 2009.
So basically, the banksters have been gouging their customers one last time, Sen. Dodd wanted to stop them from doing that, and Republicans objected. The bill, which has already passed the House, could come up under regular order in the future, but Republicans basically engaged in a needless delay so credit card companies could wring some more profits from their customers.
With all this talk of right-wing populism, it would be nice if Democrats could actually do something with this vote. We basically have Republicans voting to maintain flat-out gouging of Americans by the banking industry, with Democrats on the side of the people. That the public doesn’t have an understanding of this is a failure of communication and messaging.
UPDATE: Here’s video of this exchange on the Senate floor:
…here’s Sen. Dodd’s release on this issue.