Our fearless co-leader Ben just sent us this link from the Consumerist Washington delegation. The New Mexico Independent sent a reporter to liveblog today’s credit card reform town hall meeting at a high school in Rio Rancho, NM. The transcript includes comments and questions from readers, and also comments from national and regional consumer advocates.
Linda Sherry of Consumer Action said that her group is happy with both bills being considered. She says the one in the Senate was originally stronger, but will likely be a lot weaker by the time it comes to a vote.
There is a flurry of last minute negotiations going on and a whole slew of amendments to the credit card legislation. Some are completely ridiculous and others are thoughtful new ideas. The ridiculous ones are unrelated, like Coburn’s idea to stick something in there like the ability to carry guns in national parks.
One thing that failed to stick was an amendment that would have capped interest rates. The amendment, by Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders (an independent), would have capped rates at 15%. Rebecca Branch of the New Mexico Attorney General’s office said, “I believe an interest rate cap failed due to the intense lobbying by the loan industry. We were told by the car title lenders that they could not survive as business unless they charged 300 percent.” Sherry added that Consumer Action supports rate caps but “they are politically unpopular as they are seen as interfering with a free market economy.”
She also urged everyone to contact their senators to ask them to vote for the CARD Act. Consumer Action has a form set up on their website that does most of the work for you, so that you can just add your thoughts and hit “send.”
Transcript: NMI live blog from Obama’s town hall on credit card reform [New Mexico Independent]