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According to the Retail Industry Leaders Association, the nation’s big banks and credit card companies have spent over $50 billion this Congress lobbying members against the Durbin-Welch amendment, which would limit debit card swipe fees on small businesses.
The U.S. currently pays higher swipe fees than any other nation in the industrialized world and the rates have tripled in the past decade.
“The United States is where individuals and merchants pay the highest credit card fees and debit fees in the world,” Rep. Peter Welch (D-VT), a co-sponsor of the amendment said.
The Associated Press found numerous potential conflicts of interest among members of both parties involved in the negotiations over the financial reform bill.
Both the chairman and the ranking minority member on the Senate Banking Committee - perhaps the most important in shaping the legislation - have vested financial interests in the bill.
Sen. Chris Dodd’s (D-CT) wife sits on the board of CME Group Inc., which is the world's largest futures and options exchange. The group has spent $2.9 million lobbying Congress in the past year-and-a-half.
Sen. Richard Shelby (D-AL), owns a title company, which could be put under the regulatory umbrella of a new consumer protection agency under the terms of the bill.
Republican Reps. Shelly Moore Capito (WV) and Darrell Issa (CA) and Sen. Judd Gregg (NH). On the Democratic side are Reps. Carolyn Maloney (NY), Maxine Waters (CA) and Nydia Velazquez (NY).