A bill aimed at blocking an Obama-era Consumer Financial Protection Bureau regulation that was championed by U.S. Sen. David Perdue appeared to meet its quiet death Thursday in the U.S. Senate.
The Republican was racing to nullify a rule on prepaid credit cards before the end of the week using a special kind of legislation that then-U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich created in the 1990s. But with the House on recess and senators focused on other things, the chamber left for the weekend Thursday afternoon without having acted before the deadline.
Perdue was targeting a regulation that would require companies that offer prepaid credit cards to disclose to consumers up front their various fees and cut down on a customer’s losses when cards are lost or stolen.
Perdue and Republican allies said the policy would end up raising prices and limiting options for the millions of predominantly low- and middle-income customers who use prepaid cards, many in lieu of traditional checking accounts. But proponents said the rule would extend basic account protections to those people that the users of traditional credit cards enjoy.
Perdue’s office played down the lack of action on his bill. It pointed to the bureau’s April announcement that it would delay the effective date of the rule for six months in order to take in more industry feedback, an outcome the office said could lead to more flexibility down the road.
Had Perdue been successful in stopping the rule, a major beneficiary would have been the Columbus-based Total System Services, which has donated thousands to the Republican’s campaign. The business model of its subsidiary Netspend relies in part on overdraft fees from such prepaid credit cards.
The liberal group Allied Progress had spent six figures on television and digital ads to pressure more centrist Republicans to vote against the bill.