The Senate voted Wednesday to let the Federal Reserve slice the fees that stores must pay banks each time a customer swipes a debit card, handing merchants a victory over banks in a lobbying battle over billions in revenue. Senators supporting the financial institutions’ efforts to head off the proposal fell six voters short of the 60 needed to prevail. The vote was 54-45. – Senate votes to let Fed trim debit card swipe fees
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It turns out that Wall Street power does know some limits in the Capitol. That limit is Walmart.
The banks wound up with a slim majority of 54 votes in favor of delaying swipe fee reform, with 45 voting against the measure. But they fell short of the 60 needed to end debate and move to a final vote on delaying swipe fee reform.
The banks didn’t have every weapon firing. Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), dubbed by friends and enemies “Wall Street Chuck,” arrived early for the vote, cast his ballot on behalf of Tester’s amendment but made no effort to persuade his colleagues to do the same and left within two minutes of arriving, leaving the floor to Durbin and Tester.
Another loser on this one is Sen. Jon Tester, the sponsor of the bill.
Dodd-Frank legislation was at the heart of the battle, which demands the Federal Reserve cap swipe fees at 12 cents per transaction, which would eliminate the $230/annual hit consumers pay (h/t Joan McCarter).