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House members urge opposition to interchange caps
WASHINGTON (6/29/09)--Congressmen James Sensenbrenner Jr. (R-Wis.) and Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) in a Friday letter urged their republican colleagues not to cosponsor legislation that would allow merchants to renegotiate interchange fees with financial institutions. The letter came in response to an earlier communiqué in which Rep. Bill Shuster (R-Penn.) asked his fellow republicans to cosponsor H.R. 2695, "The Credit Card Fair Fee Act," which was introduced by Rep. John Conyers, Jr. (D-Mich.) in early June. This legislation would allow merchants to negotiate credit card transaction fees with financial institutions via an antitrust exemption. The bill is currently awaiting committee-level action. In the letter, the congressmen asked their colleagues to “resist the temptation to mediate every perceived problem or concern with the market, particularly when there are adequate legal remedies already available.” The legislation proposed in the Conyers/Durbin bill would also “hurt consumer, small banks, and credit unions,” the release added. Credit Union National Association (CUNA) President/CEO Dan Mica thanked Reps. Sensenbrenner and Chaffetz for “taking this step and recognizing how important interchange is to card-issuing credit unions.” CUNA recently asked Congress to resist moving on any potential interchange fee legislation until the Government Accountability Office can complete its study of interchange fees, as directed by the recently passed Credit Cardholders Bill of Rights Act of 2009. Members of the Arkansas Credit Union League also discussed the interchange fee issue with their state’s elected representatives during a hike the hill session held earlier this month.

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