WASHINGTON – The Senate adjourned yesterday for its annual five-week summer vacation, leaving behind numerous credit union-critical bills, including the bipartisan bill to eliminate redundant fee disclosures at the ATM—even though the credit union-backed measure passed the House unanimously last month.

The popular bill was set for a so-called unanimous consent vote in the Senate, reserved for bills with little or no opposition, but was derailed by a Senate stall tactic known as a “hold” that South Carolina Republican Jim DeMint put on because he wants to force a vote to repeal the 2010 Dodd-Frank Act. DeMint and Congressional Republicans have been trying to repeal or water-down the financial reform bill and the variety of new regulations it established since its passage in response to the financial crisis.

The DeMint tactic, broadly supported by banks and by Wall Street, is somewhat ironic because it harms the very people that are pushing for the ATM bill.

The ATMs bill, which is supported by credit unions and banks, has broad support from both Democrats and Republicans, who see it as a cure to hundreds of lawsuits brought by consumers claiming harm from the absence of a required disclosure on the side of the ATM—even though virtually every ATM now makes the same disclosure on-screen.

John McKechnie, a lobbyist for several state credit union leagues, said this morning he still believes the bill will be approved once Congress returns after Labor Day, even if the prospects for other important credit union bills, like the one that would increase the member business loan cap and the one giving credit unions the ability to raise supplementary capital, are not as positive. He attributed the delay to “larger politics,” namely the Dodd-Frank repeal. “I think credit union people shouldn’t be discouraged with the delay,” McKechnie told the Credit Union Journal. “It will pass.”

 

 

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