What: All Issues : Government Checks on Corporate Power : Banks/Credit Card Companies : S. 256. Bankruptcy/Vote on Amendment to Require Greater Disclosure by Credit Card Companies to Consumers on the Consequences of Making Only Minimum Payments
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S. 256. Bankruptcy/Vote on Amendment to Require Greater Disclosure by Credit Card Companies to Consumers on the Consequences of Making Only Minimum Payments
senate Roll Call 15     Mar 02, 2005
Y = Conservative
N = Progressive
Winning Side:
Conservative

In this vote, the Senate defeated an amendment by Daniel Akaka (D-HI) that would have forced credit card companies to provide monthly statements to consumers spelling out exactly how long it would take and how much it would cost, including interest, to pay off their debts if they only make minimum payments. In addition, Akaka's amendment would have required a warning on monthly statements that making only minimum payments would increase the amount of interest paid and the time it will take to pay it. Finally, it would have required creditors to establish a toll-free phone number for consumers to call to get information about paying off their debt. Progressives argued that these requirements were necessary in order to empower consumers by providing them with detailed personalized information to "assist them in making better informed choices about their credit card use and repayment. This amendment makes clear the adverse consequences of uninformed choices, such as making only minimum payments, and provides opportunities to locate assistance to better manage their credit card debts." (Akaka.) Akaka's amendment was one of many offered by Progressives in their effort to tilt the balance of the overall bill, S. 256, more toward consumers and away from credit card companies and other creditors. Progressives maintained that S. 256 would actually require individuals who deserve full protection in bankruptcy to meet additional barriers, like higher attorneys' fees and more paperwork. Republicans countered that the bill would make it harder for those who could pay their debts to escape them. In addition, Republicans were anxious to keep the bill "clean," meaning free from most amendments, because the House had already indicated it would not accept a bankruptcy bill laden with amendment language. The Senate defeated Akaka's amendment by a vote of 40 to 59,thus failing in this attempt to insert additional consumer protections into S. 256.

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