Credit Competition & CTE Remain on ABMA Watch list

Credit Card Competition Act
Just before Congress left town last week, the U.S. Senate passed its version of the National Defense Authorization Act or NDAA—the linchpin statute which is enacted each year to support our country’s military mission. As a “must pass” measure, this bill is always an attractive vehicle to move unrelated legislation in the form of amendments to the measure. This year is no different. ABMA was hopeful that an amendment offered by Senators Roger Marshall (R-KS), Richard Durbin (D-IL), and Peter Welch (D-VT) would make it into the bill before final passage, but amendment attempts were unsuccessful. Sen. Marshall ultimately withdrew the proposal. The lead Democrat Sponsor—Dick Durbin—contracted Covid and was not on hand to marshal support. Meanwhile, the banks and credit unions have been waging a furious lobbying campaign against this bill and this amendment effort.

The amendment would require financial institutions with assets of more than $100 billion to enable at least two network options for processing credit card transactions. And at least one of those networks must be an option other than Visa or Mastercard, which control a combined 80 percent of the credit card network market in the U.S.

The National Retail Federation (NRF), one of the lead supporters of the amendment, says swipe fees are the highest operating cost after labor for most retailers.

As a consolation, leadership has committed to the sponsors that a vote will be held on their bill/amendment at some point later this year. The Senate-passed NDAA reauthorization bill must now be reconciled with the House-passed version, which will provide additional amendment opportunities. The road to final passage for this year’s NDAA bill is going to be bumpy, however, as the House measure approved earlier in July includes several so-called “culture war” provisions. ABMA is close to the action and will keep you apprised of developments.

Workforce Development

Earlier this summer, Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) introduced the PARTNERS Act—Promoting Apprenticeships through Regional Training Networks for Employers. The bill would promote registered apprenticeships and on-the-job training for small and medium-sized businesses within in-demand industry sectors through the establishment and support of eligible partnerships. Specifically, the measure provides for state grants to provide services to engage businesses in a registered apprenticeship or on-the-job training program, which may include assisting a small or medium-sized business with—

  • Navigating the registration process for a sponsor of a registered apprenticeship program;
  • Connecting the business with an education provider to develop classroom instruction to complement learning through a registered apprenticeship or on-the-job learning;
  • Developing a curriculum for a registered apprenticeship or on-the-job training program;
  • Employing workers in a registered apprenticeship or on-the-job training program for a transitional period before the business hires an individual for continuing employment;
  • Training for managers and front-line workers to serve as trainers or mentors to workers in a registered apprenticeship or on-the-job training program;
  • Recruiting individuals to participate in a registered apprenticeship or on-the-job training program.

ABMA is adding this bill to the many workforce and apprenticeship measures that are pending in the 118th Congress and for which we are advocating.