H.R. 627 gave credit card holders additional rights and limited the conditions under which credit card issuers could raise interest rates. This was a vote on a motion to recommit (send back) the bill to committee, and add language requiring the Federal Reserve Board to study whether the legislation would have an adverse impact on small business.
Rep. Roskam (R-IL), who made the motion, said he wanted to “make sure we are not having an impact on the small person.” He also said that he wanted Congress to press the “pause button” on the credit card issue, because Congress had recently taken several hasty actions that “have been presented in one way and . . . turned out very differently.” Among the examples he gave were what he termed the “drumbeat” during the “bailout debate” the previous year.
Roskam said he was comparing this credit card reform legislation to the bailout bill “because they are indicators of mischaracterizations of things.” He argued that Congress should be reluctant to move forward because this credit card reform bill may harm small business, which he termed “the biggest job creators in our economy”. He added that, if the bill does have an adverse impact on small business, “then we have failed.”
Gutierrez (D-IL), a leading supporter of H.R. 627, responded to Roskam’s argument by noting “(T)he small business community has already spoken on this issue.” He pointed to the endorsement of the legislation by the National Federation of Independent Businesses, which is the most active political organization operating on behalf of small businesses. Gutierrez claimed that these endorsements remove the rationale Roskam put forward for his motion to recommit with instructions to add language.
Gutierrez also claimed that “the same Federal Reserve Board which the minority wishes to . . . (do) a study, has already spoken.” He pointed to a report by the Federal Reserve that the practices at which the bill aims are “unfair”, “deceptive” and “wrong”, and noted that the Fed already established rules against those practices, which are scheduled to become effective on July 1, 2010
The motion was defeated by a vote of 164-263. One hundred and fifty-nine Republicans and five Democrats voted ‘aye”. Two hundred and forty-seven Democrats and sixteen Republicans voted “nay”. As a result, the House moved immediately to a vote on passage of legislation that gave credit card holders additional rights and limited the conditions under which credit card issuers could raise interest rates.