ABA, associations: Keep credit card routing bill out of defense spending bill

The American Bankers Association and 10 other associations representing banks and credit unions on Friday urged lawmakers to reject another attempt to attach the Credit Card Competition Act as an amendment to an unrelated defense spending bill.

Sens. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) and Roger Marshall (R-Kan.) reintroduced the retailer-supported CCCA earlier this year after failing to generate enough support for the legislation during the previous Congress. The bill’s supporters are now attempting to attach the bill to the Military Construction, Veterans Affairs and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, mirroring their previous attempt to attach the legislation to the larger National Defense Authorization Act. The bill appropriates funds for military housing, veterans’ health benefits and funds, and military facilities.

“Far from increasing competition in the credit card marketplace, [CCCA] will hurt consumers and benefit big box retailers by reducing the number of credit card issuers competing for consumers’ business, removing a consumer’s choice of preferred card network, wringing out the competitive differences among card products, limiting popular credit card rewards programs, and putting the nation’s private-sector payments system under the micromanagement of the Federal Reserve board… We urge you to reject this cynical manipulation of our nation’s payments system for narrow financial gain for the nation’s largest retailers,” the associations said in a joint letter to House and Senate leaders.