Senate Passes Credit Card Reform Bill

Hooray! 90-5, the Senate has passed the Credit Card Reform bill. The job now is to iron out the differences between it and the slightly weaker House bill, or for the House to approve the Senate bill. Either way, Obama has asked for legislators to send him a bill by Memorial Day. [Washington Post] (Photo: afagen)


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  1. TEW says:

    Why didn’t 5 senators vote on this bill?

    • katarn says:

      @TEW: They probably weren’t there to vote.

    • CrowMignon says:

      @TEW: Declined?

    • pz says:

      @TEW: They were rushing back froma fact-finding mission to Thailand — the other senators told them it was going to pass overwhelmingly anyway and not to hurry.

    • Eyebrows McGee (now with double the baby!) says:

      @TEW: Byrd’s in the hospital, MN hasn’t settled on a Senator yet.

      • Trai_Dep says:

        @Eyebrows McGee (popping ~May 29): Well, they’ve decided. But the National GOP organization has conspired to ensure that MN doesn’t get their fair representation in the US Senate.
        “Democracy” is a quaint, discarded notion to some, it seems.

        • Bladefist says:

          @Trai_Dep: Haha sore loser.

        • Bladefist says:

          @Trai_Dep: You’d rather democrats win rather then who the voters voted for. Why are you so against our democracy?

          And don’t play with me, you know that recount is complete BS. It’s riddled with fraud. Excuse the GOP for not laying down to democrat voter fraud.

          Do you work for ACORN?

          • Sparerib says:

            @Bladefist: Is it “riddled with fraud” because you are a Republican, or can you site specific examples? I know that Fox News likes to pretend that there is this vast conspiracy against Norm Coleman, but the fact of the matter is: Franken has been certified the winner barring an overturn by the Supreme Court of Minnesota. And please excuse me for putting words in your mouth, but I can imagine if this were Democrats whining about Franken losing you would probably be of the “tough sh*t” crowd.

            And an ACORN reference? That was blown WAY out of proportion and everyone knows it. It was the Rush/Hannity attempt at a swiftboat campaign tactic.

            • satindevil says:

              @Sparerib: Well said!

              • Sparerib says:

                @satindevil: And it’s funny because I like Norm Coleman over Franken anyways. Nothing against Franken, but I just think Coleman is a genuinely better leader. The GOP has every right to take their fight to the highest levels of government they can considering what is on the line. But at the end of the day this will end up being a black eye on the Republicans and a contentious issue until the next election.

                And with the way this bill panned out, I bet both of those candidates would have voted “Yes” anyway.

          • Voyou_Charmant says:

            @Bladefist: Are you a parody?

        • wgrune says:


          Can you really blame them? After Specter pulled the ol’ switcheroo the MN seat became quite important.

          I didn’t vote for him and personally think he should concede (as does most of the rest of our state) but understand why he is continuing to fight.

  2. JGKojak says:

    Wow. It must really be watered down to get 90 votes.

  3. tgrwillki says:

    That or senators realized consumers are the ones that vote them into office.

  4. Drew5764 says:

    I have a feeling the 2 South Dakota Senators objected to the amendment allowing guns in National Parks and recreation areas had something to do with those “Nay” votes.

    Remember, the reason you vote “Nay” isn’t always because you don’t like the purpose of the bill.

    • tonberry says:


      and this is why riders should be illegal. 1 bill 1 vote, thats it!

      • Cant_stop_the_rock says:

        Go ahead and write the law that would provide the criteria for determining what may or may not be added to a bill. Good luck with that.

    • Applekid ┬──┬ ノ( ã‚œ-゜ノ) says:

      @Drew5764: In before negative advert next election season proclaiming how the incumbent SD senators are on the side of the unfair credit practices.

      And kitten drowning.

    • bologna_wallet says:

      @Drew5764: South Dakota is a big credit card state (Citicards are headquartered there and employ lots of people). I’m actually surprised the Delaware senators voted yes.

      • Drew5764 says:

        @bologna_wallet: Indeed, I’m surprised at the Delaware Senators also… including the one who’s now our VP, when he fought so hard to change our bankruptcy laws… how quick we are to forget!

    • veg-o-matic says:

      @Drew5764: I’d have a very hard time believing that. Although I haven’t seen any specific statement from him, John Thune is incredibly “pro-gun.”

      I remember that his mailers during the 2004 campaign (I lived in a state adjacent to SD) featured a picture of him in full hunting gear, complete with the rifle across the shoulder.

      • veg-o-matic says:

        @veg-o-matic: that is, specific statement on this particular bill. not “statement in general”

        • veg-o-matic says:

          @veg-o-matic: Ohh, nevermind, here’s his issue statement on guns. Specifically, that he likes concealed carry very much, and in national parks and refuges. He likely voted Nay because he did actually oppose the purpose of the bill.


          • Trai_Dep says:

            @veg-o-matic: If they’re so hot for concealed guns being allowed in national parks, they should attach another amendment saying that, if so, then concealed guns are also allowed in the US Senate building, by everyone including the tourists.
            Sauce for the goose, sauce for the gander.

    • AT203 says:

      Here is Senators voted on Tom Colburn’s amendment to remove the restriction on carrying weapons in Federal Parks and Reserves: []

      The text of the Amendment is available at Cong. Record 12 May 2009, Pg. S5383-S5384, it reads in pertinent part:

      (b) Protecting the Right of Individuals to Bear arms in Units of the National Park System and the National Wildlife Refuge System.–The Secretary of the Interior shall not promulgate or enforce any regulation that prohibits an individual from possessing a firearm including an assembled or functional firearm in any unit of the National Park System or the National Wildlife Refuge System if–

      (1) the individual is not otherwise prohibited by law from possessing the firearm; and

      (2) the possession of the firearm is in compliance with the law of the State in which the unit of the National Park System or the National Wildlife Refuge System is located.

  5. Anonymous says:

    I have a feeling this is going to come back to people who have good credit standing: “Those that manage their credit well will in some degree subsidize those that have credit problems.” ..

    • Snarkysnake says:


      Lets just dispose of this idea that people with good credit will end up being boned in the ear from this. It ain’t gonna happen. I have a credit score that is north of 800 and it didn’t get that way by subsidizing irresponsible people.When banks try that bullshit,the smart ones will pack up and move to the smart issuers that will welcome them with open arms. Those smart issuers will just make their money in different ways,such as marketing the hell out of those customers and upselling them better service.

      No,what you will see is a two (or more) tiered system of credit where really responsible borrowers will command better rates and terms and the true deadbeats (late payers,no payers) will have their rates jacked up to where they belonged in the first place.

      CC companies are going to have to actually work at making money in the future instead of hoping that you will screw up.

      • mac-phisto says:

        @Snarkysnake: in reality, this system is already in place. most “subprime” cards (like those offered by first premier or orchard bank) are held in separate portfolios altogether.

        it’s likely that credit availability will shrink – at least in the near-term. i don’t see this as a bad thing. maybe some of the entitlement mentality will melt away & people will return to a time when they had to pay their bills to get a credit card.

  6. HIV 2 Elway says:

    Payday loan companies rejoice!

  7. Anonymous says:

    Minnesota only has one senator; and Senator Byrd is in the hospital. I don’t know about the other three.

  8. Drew5764 says:

    While we’re at it we may as well simplify it so we can all read them, no?

  9. ckaught78 says:

    Eventually everyone will see how bad this will end up being for consumers. Anyway, stop using your credit card and you won’t have to worry about fees and interest rates.

  10. hankrearden says:

    Sweet! And raise the rates for the rest of us who pay in full every time we use a card…and contract available credit.

    Wait until people actually need credit again…theeeen we’ll see what happens.

    • citking says:

      @hankrearden: Then what will happen is that responsible people will be approved and those who cannot afford the payments (not enough income, poor credit history, etc.) will be denied. Just the way the system was intended to work.

      Credit card companies would like people to believe that this means no more credit for anyone ever. Just think though – how would they make money declining all credit requests? they’ll approve those who are responsible and deny those who are not. That way it result in one less debt for the poor, who are often granted credit cards with exorbitant interest rates anyhow. Besides, most, if not all, credit unions and banks will gladly issue their members a credit card since they have the rest of your assets anyhow.

      This is just the end for credit card companies being able to make up interest rate hikes and late fees. It’s about time.

      If you’re still confused, liken an interest rate hike akin to your landlord raising the lease of your apartment despite having a 12 month lease (or contract). You’d be upset. For some reason, however, credit card companies have carte blanche on your money and like to violate their cardholder agreements without cause.

    • trujunglist says:


      If you pay in full, who cares what your rate is?

  11. veg-o-matic says:


    Not Voting:

    Byrd (D-WV)
    Ensign (R-NV)
    Kennedy (D-MA)
    Rockefeller (D-WV)

  12. Allen Harkleroad says:

    I think this is good for consumers. I would be happier but I cut all my credit cards up over three years ago so I haven’t had to deal with Credit Card company abuse per se.

  13. I Love New Jersey says:

    This is not good, those of us who are responsible get screwed while bailing out those who aren’t. It is just going to be some more fail.

    • Drew5764 says:

      @I Love New Jersey: But it’s MORE regulation!!! That’s what we need, no???

    • HIV 2 Elway says:

      @I Love New Jersey: Fail is a verb, this meme must be banished to the land of wind and ghosts.

      • William Brinkman says:

        @HIV 2 Elway: Completely agree. Also, most people who use the word ‘fail’ as a noun are completely awful at all video games and “fail” all the time.

    • citking says:

      @I Love New Jersey: Obviously you are trolling or don’t understand the bill. You should actually read the bill and argue what specific points cause those who are responsible to “get screwed” as you so eloquently put it.

      • Joe Reilly says:

        @citking: The reduction of interest rates and re-introduction of annual fees is one. The reduction of the grace period is another. Politicians want to equalize the cost of credit so that the cheaper people pay for the more expensive people.

        @HiV 2 Elway: Fail.

        • sinfonian94 says:

          @Joe Reilly: Uhhh… NO. Reduction of interest rates is good. Credit cards made money for many decades with rates far less than 30%. There’s no reduction of grace period. The bill actually reduces the abuse of practices that kill the grace period. Politicians want to keep CC companies from ripping everyone off.
          @Joe Reilly: Fail.

  14. metsarethe... says:

    Be careful what you wish for.

    That being said, I don’t see how this helps me, I pay my bill on time every month.

  15. rpm773 says:

    @TEW: All-you-can-eat Taco/Nacho day in the Senate cafeteria.

  16. Jage says:


    So now I, a responsible person who pays off his card every month before accruing interest, will have to pay an annual fee to hold a credit card?

    So, I have 2 options: Pay the fee and build my credit so I can hopefully someday buy a house, or

    cut up my cards and have no credit

    • Con Seannery: Mission Accomplished says:

      @Jage: But, but, but, we need the government to take care of us so that we don’t have to worry about spending money! Obviously, people who pay their cards off are members of the Evil Rich, they must be destroyed at all costs. Their fiscal responsibility and money management are all a result of luck and corruption, we the irresponsible are being abused by this system. What kind of corrupt, Evil Rich bastard would make us pay for what we buy?

  17. Jevia says:

    I appreciate their intentions, but I’m not sure its going to do anything, at least in the short term. They talk about how the point is to keep credit card companies from putting Americans even more deeper into debt. However, for those that already have balances, who are presumably at the most risk for going “deeper into debt,” the bill does nothing. Its virtually a complete waste of time.

    There is nothing currently stopping the credit card companies from doing what they are already doing, raising interests rates, plunging those people with balances “deeper into debt” because they are paying more and more each month in interest fees. These restrictions won’t take affect until nine months after the bill is signed, at the earliest. Maybe that will be before July 2010, but maybe not, and at most will only be a few months earlier. Nothing stops the companies from raising rates, instituting yearly fees, raising late/overdrawn fees in the meantime that will then stick when the bill is finally signed. What was the point of this bill if at most it institutes these provisions only a month or two before the Federal Reserves’ provisions? Why can’t they make it effective 2 months after passage? That at least might (and I mean might) be worthwhile.

    So fine for those that don’t have balances, but those aren’t the Americans at risk for going “deeper into debt” who are supposed to be protected by this bill. In fact, this may end up putting those people who are managing to pay their bills, but perhaps just barely because of the current economic conditions (like no raise/bonus for over a year while costs have increased) even more at risk for going “deeper into debt” or even defaulting.

    • Con Seannery: Mission Accomplished says:

      @Jevia: Nonsense, we can’t think about potential negative consequences here! We need more government regulation RIGHT NOW, not well thought out legislation!

    • HogwartsAlum says:


      “Why can’t they make it effective 2 months after passage? That at least might (and I mean might) be worthwhile.”

      I wonder the same thing. Why does it take so long to get the thing through? Pass it, sign it, then do it.

      All I can think of is that little Schoolhouse Rock bill singing, “OH how I hope and praaay that I will…but todaaaay I am still…just a bill!”

  18. Corporate_guy says:

    I find it hilarious that republicans were too afraid to vote no on this. They should have paper clipped health care to the bill.

  19. Gmork says:

    I wonder how far this will drive up everyone’s rate? I currently have 3 credit cards with rates lower than 9% (one as low as 7%). The 7% card has a limit of $15,000. I have been trying to get a home improvement loan of $6,000 with very little equity in my house (I bought it last year), and most banks want to lend it to me at 17% or higher. I wonder if banks will be forced to lower their unsecured interest rate now that credit card companies can’t increase your interest rate on stuff you’ve already purchased?

  20. ct_price says:

    To those who complain that this is going to hurt them in some way: do you think we would be in quite the mess we are now with or without credit cards?

    Living beyond your means is where most people are and there is something fundamentally wrong with that. Personally, I think we need a return to reality and paying with cash like our grandparents used to. That worked pretty well and they own their homes and are not saddled with perpetual debt like our parents (and we) are.

    The complaints about annual fees are ridiculous. Free markets will still follow, people. This reform is not going to halt the concepts behind economic principles. Competition will still be there and companies will still offer no annual fee cards. They just won’t offer them to people who are unfortunate hosts to their parasitic lending practices.

    • Tux the Penguin says:

      @ct_price: Now, but there are some good cards out there that have no annual fees and great reward programs (Pentagon Federal Credit Union, for example). Those days I assume will be over. It will become a decision between a reward program or no annual fee.

      But I agree: our over-addcition to debt is the problem. The Credit Card companies are just the crack-pushers. We don’t carry balances, haven’t for years. But there are people who finance their lives by debt. We’re greedy, not just Republicans, not just Democrats. We all want more. Now instead of getting debt to finance it, we’re turning to the government (who is now turning to debt).

      Eventually someone has to pay these debts, whether its personal or governmental…

  21. Tim Marvin says:

    While this bill makes me extremely happy it is somehow just not quite as satisfying as when Tyler Durden blows up the Credit Card buildings in Fight Club… but its pretty close.

  22. DixonDaimon says:

    so i can carry in national parks now?

  23. ShyamaliAndreus says:

    I thought part of the point of this site was to inform so that we can make informed decisions on our own. Not to celebrate the government baby-sitting us when we fail to do so. Why bother educating ourselves if we are simply going to root for the Feds to take care of us.

    • Con Seannery: Mission Accomplished says:

      @ShyamaliAndreus: Exactly. Let people experience failure, otherwise they will NEVER learn to be independent…unless, of course, the goal is to have everyone dependent on government handouts in the future.

  24. PersonalResponsibility says:

    Hooray for protecting deadbeats!

  25. Anonymous says:

    you have to keep in mind that ANY industry will balk about ANY regulation that does not benefit them (and i mean them, not the customer). the credit card industry has shown itself to be one of the most creative around, so don’t start kidding yourself into thinking that they don’t have any options. all this is doing is creating a more level playing field to allow for ACTUAL competition.

  26. Brazell says:

    @Sparerib: Rush.. Check. Swiftboat.. Check. Foxnews.. Check. The trinity of lefty buzz words.

    • Sparerib says:

      @MichaelBrazell: That’s a straw-man argument. If you have any real disagreement with anything I said, then feel free to elaborate. It’s pretty disingenuous of you to say that my comment is false because of a perceived “lefty” bias. Buzz words? No my friend, those are just the facts.

      Besides, if Rush Limbaugh is going to be a voice for extremist “conservative” radio’s salacious slander and blindly biased hooliganism; he is justifiably held accountable as it’s icon.

    • Bladefist says:

      @MichaelBrazell: Yup. And they attack you for not addressing their argument, which had nothing to do with my argument.


      • Sparerib says:

        @Bladefist: So your “argument” is that the Minnesota recount is rife with fraud? Well I think it would be pretty fair to say that you don’t have an argument, and THAT is what I called you out on.

  27. gggtur says:

    Sweet, I’ll be bringing my guns to national parks now.