House Vote Leaves Debit Swipe Fee Reform Intact

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. House of Representatives voted in favor of legislation to revamp financial reform.

The Financial CHOICE Act aims to replace the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act. However, it leaves in place swipe fee reform which was included in Dodd-Frank's Durbin Amendment — a move that retail groups had been lobbying for over the past several months.

"NACS applauds the fact that clearer heads in Congress have prevailed, and the House has protected debit swipe fee reform. Eliminating this reform would have been an endorsement of duopoly price fixing of swipe fees by the credit card behemoths and would cost consumers and Main Street retailers $8 billion per year," said Lyle Beckwith, senior vice president of government relations at NACS, the Association for Convenience & Fuel Retailing.

"We want to thank the members of Congress who stood tall for everyday citizens and made it clear that debit swipe fee reform has been good for their constituents," he added. "They made clear that any bill that would repeal those debit reforms cannot pass the House of Representatives."

"Every promise of Dodd-Frank has been broken," said Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas). "Fortunately there is a better, smarter way. It's called the Financial CHOICE Act. It stands for economic growth for all, but bank bailouts for none. We will end bank bailouts once and for all. We will replace bailouts with bankruptcy. We will replace economic stagnation with a growing, healthy economy."

Hensarling was the driving force behind the new legislation. 

"We will make sure there is needed regulatory relief for our small banks and credit unions, because it's our small banks and credit unions that lend to our small businesses that are the jobs engine of our economy and make sure the American dream is not a pipe dream," he added.

With swipe fee reform protected, retail groups threw their support behind the legislation.

"In the wake of the financial crisis it was vital for Congress to act to assure the American people that our financial markets were stable and that a new regulatory apparatus would prevent another systemic problem," said Austen Jensen, vice president for government affairs at the Retail Industry Leaders Association.

"Preserving swipe fee reform was a big win for retailers and consumers across the country. No retailer — big or small — received a bailout during the Great Recession, and we support provisions of the CHOICE Act that seek to ensure that Americans are never again forced to bail out failing financial institutions," Jensen added.