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Legislative

Senate Votes in Support of Swipe Fee Reform

June 9, 2011


Bethesda, MD – America’s Beer, Wine & Spirits Retailers and their customers earned a major victory today as the Senate voted to continue on the path to debit card swipe fee reform for beverage licensees and other merchants. This legislative success is a credit to American Beverage Licensees (ABL) members who made a difference in the fight for fair debit card fees.

“A big thank you goes to all the ABL members who wrote, called, emailed and met with their U.S. Senators to discuss this important issue,” said ABL Executive Director John Bodnovich. “Today’s victory was carried on the backs of small, independent businesses and demonstrates the power of beverage alcohol retailers’ grassroots advocacy efforts.

The Senate voted against delaying the implementation of debit card swipe fee reforms, with supporters of an amendment offered by Senators Jon Tester (D-MT) and Bob Corker (R-TN) garnering only 54 of the 60 votes necessary to prevent the reforms from going into effect. Forty-five Senators sided with small business and ABL’s position by voting against the amendment and for moving forward with reform.

Today’s vote paves the way for the Federal Reserve to move ahead in making its final rules for implementing reforms that require debit card swipe fees to be “reasonable and proportional” to the actual costs of processing debit card transactions. With a deadline of July 21, the final Fed regulations are expected to be released any day.

The battle over swipe fees has been one of the most contentious in which ABL members have been engaged. Today’s outcome in the Senate represents the culmination of grassroots engagement by ABL members and ABL’s coalition work with other merchants. Despite going up against some of the toughest and most powerful interests – big banks and credit card companies – Main Street businesses and retailers never waivered in the fight for debit card swipe fee fairness.

“ABL will continue to fight for fair fees for its members and the customers and communities they proudly serve,” said Bodnovich. “That means making sure the Federal Reserve and Congressional processes continue to work for small business retailers and consumers.”

ABL encourages its members to thank the 45 Senators who stood up for beverage licensees and kept swipe fee reforms moving forward. See how your senators voted here. A "NAY" vote (that is, a vote AGAINST delay) supported American Beverage Licensees’ position.


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