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House Passes Bill to Expedite Credit Card Reforms

First they delayed the reforms; now they’re trying to expedite them.

The House approved legislation today to have its previously passed credit card reforms take effect next month, rather than three months later.

The bill is designed to fix a problem the lawmakers themselves created. Earlier in the year, Democratic leaders bowed to the wishes of the credit card issuers by granting them a long window to implement the reforms. Indeed, most of the changes aren’t scheduled to take hold until late February. Many banks have taken full advantage of the delay, hiking fees and rates — even on existing balances — to pad their profits ahead of the law.

Under the House bill, sponsored by Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.), the reforms will go into effect Dec. 1. The lower chamber passed the bill 331 to 92.

“I believe the card issuers have heard the message loud and clear today: their practices can no longer be tolerated,” Maloney said in a statement following the vote.

But that depends. The Senate would still have to pass the bill in order for it to become law. And at the rate the upper chamber is moving, Dec. 1 doesn’t seem that far away.

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