June 8, 2011
Authored by: Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner
After a long and divisive lobbying fight, retailers defeated the banking industry Wednesday as the Senate narrowly defeated legislation to delay new caps on debit-card swipe fees.
The legislation was offered by Sens. Jon Tester (D-Mont.) and Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) and failed on a 54-45 vote, falling just six votes shy of the 60 needed for passage and clearing the way for a provision in last year’s Dodd-Frank Wall Street reform law to take effect July 21.
The provision, often referred to as the “Durbin Interchange Amendment” required the Federal Reserve to establish fair and reasonable interchange fees for many debt and prepaid card transactions. Last Fall, the Federal Reserve proposed new rules which (among other things) would limit to 12 cents per transaction the fee that large banks (with more than $10 billion in assets) can charge merchants every time a consumer uses a debit card or a prepaid gift card. These proposed rules garnered significant critcism and final rules, which are now overdue from the Federal Reserve, are expected shortly.
Senators Tester and Corker initially proposed delaying the Durbin amendment from taking effect for 24 months. The final version of the Tester-Corker plan was to cut the delay in half to 12 months and called for a six-month study of the costs associated with debit transactions and their impact on consumers and small, community banks.
Below is a breakdown of the Senators’ votes.
Not Voting – 1