As expected, the Senate began consideration of H.R. 627 on Tuesday afternoon. However, the anticipated rapid action on the bill was derailed by the introduction by Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) of an unexpected amendment that would permit citizens to carry guns in national parks. Discussion of the amendment, which was ultimately approved, occupied the Senate for the rest of the day.
An amendment (S. Amdt. 1062) offered by Sen. Bernie Sanders (Ind-VT) that would cap cards’ interest rates at 15 percent, with a possible increase to 18 percent in certain circumstances, was ruled out of order by the chair on Wednesday, and the Senate declined to waive the procedural issue.
Yesterday, it appears that a unanimous-consent agreement was reached under which no further amendments to the bill will be considered, except a managers' amendment which has been cleared by the managers and the two Leaders. The Senate is expected to resume consideration of the bill at 10:00 a.m., on Tuesday, May 19, 2009, and vote on the motion to invoke cloture on Dodd/Shelby Amendment No. 1058. If cloture is invoked on the amendment, the Senate will consider any pending germane amendments, then all post-cloture time will be yielded back, and the substitute amendment, as amended, will be agreed to. The Senate should then proceed to vote on the passage of HR 627, as amended.
Also yesterday, President Barack Obama re-emphasized his commitment to credit card reform during a Town Hall meeting yesterday in Rio Rancho, New Mexico, saying, “You should not have to worry that when you sign up for a credit card, you're signing away all your rights. You shouldn't need a magnifying glass or a law degree to read the fine print that sometimes don't even appear to be written in English -- or Spanish. And frankly, when you're trying to navigate your way through this economy, you shouldn't feel like you're getting ripped off by "any time, any reason" rate hikes, and payment deadlines that seem to move around every month. … So I'm calling on Congress to take final action to pass a credit card reform bill that protects American consumers and send it to my desk so that I can sign it into law by Memorial Day.”