The House Energy and Commerce Committee just approved comprehensive food safety reform, setting it up for consideration on the House floor in the coming months. The Food Safety Enhancement Act was approved by voice vote, indicating bipartisan support and suggesting a relatively smooth passage through the entire House.
Tomorrow, President Obama is expected to call for the creation of a new watchdog agency that would help protect consumers from abusive credit card, mortgage, banking practices. The banking industry is not happy about the idea, reports CNN. But hey, they’re just looking out for us: “It’s bad for consumers,” a banking industry lobbyist told the network. Oh, well, never mind then, and pass me some more delicious subprime!
Yesterday, four U.S. Senators sent a letter to FCC acting chairman Michael Copps requesting an investigation into whether exclusivity deals between handset makers and national carriers are ultimately good for consumers, and they plan to hold a hearing on the issue on Wednesday, June 16th. They join a growing number of people and organizations, including the Rural Cellular Association (RCA), who say exclusivity deals benefit no one but the carriers and manufacturers.
While details of such an approach are still sketchy, it would likely involve employees paying tax on a percentage of their employer-provided health benefits. So if Congress decided that all such premiums in excess of $11,000 for family plans would be taxable income, and your company paid premiums worth $16,000 for your coverage, you’d have to pay taxes on $5,000.
If your bank isn’t willing to renegotiate your mortgage, see if your Member of Congress can’t give them a little push. Maxine Waters (D-CA) rings up the C.E.O.s of Bank of America and Wells Fargo on her constituents’ behalf, while Elijah Cummings (D-MD) hired a staffer who’s helping more than 120 constituents avoid foreclosure.
“Revolvers”—customers who keep a revolving balance on their credit cards—used to be the cash crop for credit card companies. But now more and more of them are turning into expensive charge-offs, and the new CARD act is going to make it harder to acquire those riskier customers anyway. As a result, card companies are beginning to look more closely at the customer who was most hated back in the credit-orgy years: the deadbeat.
The FDA is set to receive $3.2 billion next year but they don’t yet have a plan to make our food any safer. That doesn’t sit well with Congressional appropriator Rosa DeLauro (D-CT), who at a recent hearing told Acting FDA Commissioner Joshua Sharfstein: “A lot sounds to me like buzzwords from a past administration.”
Bob Sullivan at MSNBC—who coincidentally was one of the speakers at our event last night—has published a list of myths and facts about the new credit card bill. His article dispels some of the misinformation that’s out there right now about just what the act does, and what card companies are going to do in retaliation.
Our favorite congressman, Mike Doyle (D-PA), is also fed up with the robocalls telling him his car warranty is about to expire. For those keeping track, that’s two elected officials that these robocalllers have illegally called recently. If the internet doesn’t take them out first, hopefully our public servants will. Thanks, Kenneth!
The House is expected to pass the Credit Cardholders’ Bill of Rights Act today, and the Senate is considering similar legislation. The Senate battle will be harder, but you can help!
Meet Michelle. We met Michelle at Arbitration Fairness Day and she told us about being forced into arbitration when she tried to get her poorly constructed home repaired. Now she’d like to share her story with you.
Mandatory binding arbitration, which corporations use to dodge accountability for their discrimination, negligence, or harassment, is a caricature of justice that offers no protection to consumers or employees. It’s also terrible for small business owners, as one couple found out.
We at Consumerist really hate mandatory binding arbitration, the faux-legal sucker punch that companies deliver when they screw up and you try to sue, and so should you. We’ve talked about its evils a lot, but no one can describe this legal abomination as well as the victims themselves, so this week we’ll let them speak.
The Credit Cardholders’ Bill of Rights is back in the news, and with Congress considering the legislation, we offer a refresher on what’s in this bill and why it’s important.