Thursday, April 30, 2009

Do The Democrats Have What It Takes To Pass Tough Legislation The Banksters Oppose?


Today is D-day on H.R. 627, Carolyn Maloney's Credit Cardholders' Bill of Rights Act of 2009 which seeks "to amend the Truth in Lending Act to establish fair and transparent practices relating to the extension of credit under an open end consumer credit plan." There are 127 co-sponsors, from across the ideological spectrum from the worst slimy, corrupt Blue Dogs (Gene Taylor and John Barrow) to the most outstanding champions of working families (Donna Edwards, Barney Frank, Jerrold Nadler, Jan Schakowsky and Gary Peters); there's even a Republican (one), Walter Jones.

Last week we looked at how systematic rip offs of consumers, using confusing techniques like overdraft "protection," help banksters steal $17.5 billion every year. Last year the House passed Maloney's Credit Card Bill of Rights Act, by a huge margin, 312-112 but it died in the Senate, like most good ideas.

Yesterday the DCCC went on the attack against Republicans, like Don Young (R-AK) who they feel will vote against the bill today. Young is a strange target since he was one of the 84 Republicans to cross the aisle and vote with the Democrats in 2008 on this. (Funny enough, a better target would be Blue Dog Stephanie Herseth Sandlin (SD) who crossed the aisle in the other direction and voted with the GOP. South Dakota has a huge credit card industry and I suppose the thinking goes that if they steal from the rest of us, it'll trickle down to Herseth Sandlin's constituents-- or at least to her campaign donors. (Yes, she raked in a startling $629,895 from the banksters since being elected to the House in 2004.) Don Young, considered one of the most corrupt members of Congress, did get slightly more out of the banksters than Herseth Sandlin did-- $689,522-- but he's been serving their interests since just after the Civil War 1973! I'm sure the DCCC knows what they're doing.
In this economy, we all know someone who has faced excessive credit card fees or an unfair interest rate hike. Tomorrow, Representative Don Young has an opportunity to show he is listening to hardworking Americans and side with consumers, rather than big credit card companies, during these tough economic times. Congress will vote on the Credit Card Holders’ Bill of Rights which protects people who work hard and play by the rules from facing unfair interest rate increases and excessive fees.
“In these tough economic times, when responsible consumers play by the rules, their credit card company should not be allowed to drive them deeper into debt with excessive fees and unfair interest rate hikes. The question is whether Representative Don Young has finally heard his constituents’ demands and will protect responsible families against unfair credit card fees,” said Jennifer Crider, Communications Director for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. “Representative Young should stand with families trying to dig out of debt during these tough times, not credit card companies charging responsible customers excessive fees and sky-high interest rates."

The DCCC makes the valid point that H.R. 627 will protect consumers in several ways:

• Protecting against unfair interest rate increases
• Prohibiting excessive fees
• Allowing customers to set their own fixed credit limit and prohibit fees for exceeding that limit.
• Requiring card companies to mail billing statements 21 calendar days before the due date (up from the current 14 days) to allow enough time to pay the bill without incurring late fees.
• Requiring companies to credit as “on time” any payment made by 5pm local time on the due date.

Come back later today and we'll see who voted for and who voted against this bill.

More important, we'll keep an eye on the Senate, which killed this vote last time and will be voting on it today. Presumably, now there are enough Democrats in the Senate to pass it, if you count corruptionists and reactionaries like Ben Nelson, Mary Landrieu, Evan Bayh (and the rest of his anti-Obama Bloc), Blanche Lincoln and Arlen Specter as Democrats. It sounds like Harry Reid is already making excuses-- blaming Republicans-- for not passing important economic and financial legislation. I bet you've been following the "cramdown bill" that the Senate is about to take up.

Reid's #2, Dick Durbin, must have felt pushed to the very edge to have blown the whistle on his bribe-taking colleagues. "The banks own the Senate," he told a radio audience. Watch him yesterday on Ed Schultz on MSNBC yesterday:

The banksters have spent $2.2 billion in direct payoff since 1990 on buying "influence" in Congress, plus approximately an equal amount in lobbying. There are an awful lot of senators who don't want to kiss their biggest donors off. Yesterday Ryan Grim interviewed both Reid and Pelosi for the HuffPo and he came away shaking his head in despair. Reid told him he's not sure the bill has the votes "to overcome a GOP filibuster and that its key provision-- cramdown-- may have to come out." Ben Nelson, Mary Landrieu and Jon Tester have already said they plan to help the Republicans filibuster this. I guess there's a chance Reid will show us he's a leader-- but I wouldn't want to have to depend on that to keep from being evicted from my home.

UPDATE: Michael Steele Explains Who's To Blame For The Banking Crisis

Short version: "Let's do the my bad and move forward."


At 11:39 this morning the House voted-- along party lines-- for the enabling legislation on the Truth In Lending Act. It passed 249-175, every Republican opposing Truth, as usual. They were joined by one mangy Blue Dog, Baron Hill (IN), who has sucked up $856,791 in bribes from the banksters since first being elected-- then defeated, then elected again. Time for another spin of the wheel? Or does every Hoosier south of Bloomington like the idea of being hosed by their credit card companies while their congressmen gets paid off to allow it?

Meanwhile, the Senate Dems' non-leader announced that both the credt card reform and the foreclosure protection bills will probably fail. Too many members take bribes from the banksters-- way too many, and on both sides of the aisle. Every member who votes against these consumer-friendly bills, regardless of political party, should be defeated at the polls next year.

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At 6:09 AM, Blogger Woody (Tokin Librul/Rogue Scholar/ Helluvafella!) said...

"Do The Democrats Have What It Takes To Pass Tough Legislation The Banksters Oppose?"

In a word: Waddarya, fucking kidding me?

At 7:32 AM, Blogger Juan Liberale said...

Why would it be a surprise? We like to think that democrats are more honorable than republicans. The truth is that nobody bothers to bribe the out of power party.

Now that dems are in control their vote will be up for purchase.

At 2:31 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

wtf!! why don't we take over the banks, put an end to the lobbying, and fire all these overpaid paperpushers. the gov has no cojones & progressives need to primary every one of these fake dems, esp. arlen.


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