Rep. Ross Says Efforts Underway to Keep Debit Card Swipe Fee Limits

A group of House lawmakers is considering taking steps aimed at preserving debit card swipe fee limits that are slated for removal under the House GOP’s plan to overhaul the Dodd-Frank Act, according to Rep. Dennis Ross (R-Fla.).

Ross, who voted in favor of the Dodd-Frank replacement bill during a House Financial Services Committee markup on Thursday, said in an interview that he’s working with other lawmakers to strike language from the legislation — H.R. 10, the Financial CHOICE Act — that would repeal the so-called Durbin amendment.

“We’re talking about it with some others,” said Ross, who declined to name the other lawmakers. “We’re kind of taking the temperature of the other members right now.”

Legislative bids to keep the Dodd-Frank provision, named for its chief sponsor, Sen. Richard Durbin (D-Ill.), are likely to have populist appeal among some lawmakers as the bill advances to a House floor vote. Ross did not say whether he would offer an amendment for consideration on the House floor.

Supporters contend that the limits help keep down costs for consumers, whereas the banking industry dismisses the caps as a failed price control experiment. Bankers are in a lobbying war against retailers, who want the debit card swipe fee limits to stay in place.

Despite voting in favor of the legislation at Thursday’s markup, Ross last week was the only Republican member of the panel to say he’s concerned about the measure’s repeal of the Durbin amendment.

Rep. Bruce Poliquin of Maine, who voted for the bill on Thursday and was the only Republican to vote against a similar Dodd-Frank repeal measure in committee last year, did not respond to reporters’ questions after the markup about whether he’s involved in the discussions with Ross.

When asked about efforts to retain the Durbin amendment, Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.), another Financial Services member, said in a brief interview that he is “consulting” with colleagues on a possible change to the bill, but otherwise said he wasn’t prepared to speak further about the issue.

Democratic Reps. William Lacy Clay (Mo.), John Delaney (Md.), Carolyn Maloney (N.Y.) and Gregory Meeks (N.Y.) — all members of the House Financial Services Committee — said in interviews that they don’t have any plans to offer amendments to the bill on the House floor.

Tara Jeffries contributed.