Interest rate cap temporarily delayed

Some temporary good news about the delay.

WASHINGTON — The House Rules Committee decided Wednesday to not allow a floor vote on a proposal that would have capped interest rates on consumer credit cards at 18 percent.

Seventeen amendments scheduled for votes Thursday would insert additional consumer protections into the Credit Cardholders' Bill of Rights Act of 2009, which was approved last week by the House Financial Services Committee.

The consumer-oriented bill, authored by Rep. Carolyn Maloney, D-Manhattan, passed the House last year but was never considered by the Senate.

The new bill requires card issuers to provide a 45-day advance notice of interest rate increase; requires statements to be mailed at least 25 days before payment is due; and prohibits so-called double cycle billing, in which interest charges are added to the second month of a bill for balances paid the previous month.

Rep. Maurice Hinchey, D-Hurley, who had authored the rate cap proposal, issued a statement Wednesday indicating he was "very disappointed'' at the Rules Committee's decision. The committee is chaired by Rep. Louise Slaughter, D-Fairport.

Hinchey "spent much of his day aggressively making the case to leadership about why putting a reasonable cap on credit card interest rates would help relieve an unfair burden placed on so many Americans,'' spokesman Jeff Lieberson said in an email. "This is an issue on which he intends to remain very focused. He will look to bring similar legislation forward that is aimed at finding real ways to help people battle credit card industry abuse.''

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