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Senate Overwhelmingly Passes Sweeping Credit Card Reforms

The vote might have been delayed, and it might have been stacked with an irrelevant gun amendment, but legislation to protect consumers from the most abusive tactics of the credit card industry passed the Senate Tuesday by the overwhelming count of 90 to five.

The proposal would prohibit rate hikes on existing balances, give cardholders longer notice to pay their bills, and prevent card companies from charging fees when customers pay their bills on time.

The House had passed a similar (though less stringent) bill last month by a vote of 357 to 70. Leaders from the two chambers now must meet to iron out the differences between the two proposals.

Just one question: If 90 senators voted in favor of the bill, why did Republicans threaten a filibuster to begin with, thereby forcing Democrats to take the extra, time-consuming step of filing for cloture? Seems that 60 really is the new 50 in the upper chamber.

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