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Is Schumer doing credit card industry's "swipe fee" dirty work? Spox adamantly denies it

Chuck Schumer is getting the living crap kicked out of him on left wing blogs for allegedly trying to gut a provision in financial reform that regulates the card "swipe fees" that big banks and credit card companies can charge to merchants.

But Schumer's spokesman adamantly denies to me he's done anything like this.

This is extremely high-stakes stuff: This provision could cost these industries billions, because it restricts the fees they can slap on merchants for accepting credit and debit cards. And consumer advocates strongly support the "swipe fee" provision because some of those costs are passed on to consumers.

The House and Senate have agreed in conference committee to include the provision in FinReg.

But bloggers charge Schumer, at the behest of his major financial supporters, has been quietly trying to gut the provision behind the scenes. Chris Bowers, citing sources close to the process, charged recently that Schumer was secretly trying to get Republicans to introduce an amendment killing the provision.

But Schumer spokesman Brian Fallon emails an adamant denial:

"At no point during the conference process has Senator Schumer ever pursued an amendment to the interchange fee agreement, nor has anyone asked him to. Any reports suggesting otherwise are so false as to be irresponsible."

The "swipe fee" compromise is a major aspect of all the intrigue surrounding FinReg as it creeps towards completion. The compromise was a big get for reformers, and they believe it's going to be pulled out from under them at some point during final negotiations.

Indeed, the swipe fee compromise is not a done deal: There are still legit fears that some House Dems could kill or alter it. But Schumer's spox says his boss has no designs whatsoever on making that happen, which could come as a bit of a relief to some on the left, given Schumer's pull inside the Senate.

UPDATE, 3:00 p.m.: Schumer's spokesman also points out that the Senator twice voted for this: Once on the Senate floor in May, and on Tuesday night when the Senate and House Dems reached a deal in conference.

By Greg Sargent  |  June 24, 2010; 2:47 PM ET
Categories:  Financial reform , Senate Dems , Senate Republicans  
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Uh Greg, did you read your own reporting? Bowers says Schumers trying to get Republicans to do his dirty work and his spox limits his comments on Schumer to what he is personally doing in committee. I dont know if Schumers guilty but I do find the statement curious in its limitef scope.

Posted by: sgwhiteinfla | June 24, 2010 3:03 PM | Report abuse

sg, fair point, but see the update, schumer voted for it twice

Posted by: Greg Sargent | June 24, 2010 3:07 PM | Report abuse

also sg, the spox is saying he never "pursued an amendment," meaning he isn't trying to get Repubs to do one

Posted by: Greg Sargent | June 24, 2010 3:08 PM | Report abuse

I hope Chris Bowers sources were wrong about Schumer trying to get Republicans to do his dirty work. I linked Bowers piece a couple of days ago and it was pretty discouraging. Hopefully we don't find out later Bowers was right all along. Any response from Chris Greg? I do think it's a good thing Schumer felt compelled to respond and also that we have people watching and reporting what everyone is doing, left and right.

I normally trust Bowers' posts but if his un-named sources got it wrong, I think that's a problem for his credibility.

Posted by: lmsinca | June 24, 2010 3:20 PM | Report abuse

lmsinca, Bowers Tweeted something like, "someone is lying."

Posted by: Greg Sargent | June 24, 2010 3:26 PM | Report abuse

Speaking of Bowers, here's his take on Stabenow's comments re the jobs/unemployment/state aid bill scheduled for a vote today I think. She says it's dead as they can't get even a single Republican and also Ben Nelson, the old coot, to vote for it.

Greg, interesting response and curious. I wonder if he's checking his sources. I have a lot of respect for his opinions and analysis.

"Today on a press call with bloggers, in response to the impending Republican filibuster of the jobs bill, Senator Debbie Stabenow of Michigan said that Senate Republicans "want the economy to fail." She additionally said that it was the most cynical political move she has ever seen, likely because Republicans stand to gain from the economic pain they will cause.

Senator Stabenow also said that the moderate Republicans she was negotiating with--such as Susan Collins, Olympia Snowe, and Scott Brown--were negotiating in bad faith. Democrats satisfied all of their concerns, Stabenow said, but "they kept changing what the concerns were."

Posted by: lmsinca | June 24, 2010 3:35 PM | Report abuse

And here's what will happen when and if the bill is defeated, also from Chris Bowers.

"Come Friday, 1.2 million people will lose access to the extended unemployment benefits, a number that will grow by several hundred thousand every week after that. Fifty million Medicare claims from June are currently in process at the reduced rate, which the AARP says has already caused some of its members to have trouble finding a doctor. And the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities estimates that dropping the $24 billion in aid to states will lead to cuts in services and thousands of layoffs, and that spending cuts to close states' aggregate budget shortfall absent new federal funds in 2011 would lead to 900,000 public- and private-sector layoffs."

Posted by: lmsinca | June 24, 2010 3:37 PM | Report abuse

Perhaps Schumer is Fighting For It With One Hand, While Fighting Against It With The Other Hand.

Ask Blanche if he is?

Posted by: Liam-still | June 24, 2010 3:43 PM | Report abuse

That sounds pretty likely to me Liam. Remember how proud of her he was for taking on both the big banks and the big nasty unions, and he wasn't being sarcastic either.

Posted by: lmsinca | June 24, 2010 3:45 PM | Report abuse

That sounds pretty likely to me Liam. Remember how proud of her he was for taking on both the big banks and the big nasty unions, and he wasn't being sarcastic either.

Posted by: lmsinca | June 24, 2010 3:45 PM


And if you recall, when Schumer started to receive a lot of heat for that remark about Blanche, it was the very same spokesperson, Brian Fallon, that fed Greg the BS excuse, that Senator Schumer was just referring to a TV ad that Senator Lincoln had run.

Therefore; I do not believe one word that this Brian Fallon communicates.

Posted by: Liam-still | June 24, 2010 3:53 PM | Report abuse

How come when President Obama leaned on BP to fund a compensation Pool,

Republicans, such as Sorry Joe Barton, call it a shake down,

But When their Quitter Grizzly Mama did the same thing in Alaska, none of those Republicans apologized to The Oil Companies!

For the entire short time that Quitter Palin was governor;

She accepted twice as much revenues from the Federal Government, as Alaska sent to Washington. She also distributed checks to every resident, from a pool of money that she had Shook Down The Oil Companies for.

Govern Palin: The Welfare Queen, Of The Welfare, and Shake Down, State Of Alaska.

Posted by: Liam-still | June 24, 2010 4:12 PM | Report abuse

Boy Greg, those Palin threads sure get a lot of hits. LOL

Posted by: lmsinca | June 24, 2010 4:26 PM | Report abuse

Boy Greg, those Palin threads sure get a lot of hits. LOL

Posted by: lmsinca


That is; because they are linked to, by all The Right Wingers' Short Bus Troll Schools.

Posted by: Liam-still | June 24, 2010 4:29 PM | Report abuse

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