House Passes Bill Imposing Tighter Rules on Credit Cards, Loosens Restrictions on Concealed Weapons

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In a move that could have a significant impact on the credit card industry, the House today voted 361-64 for a bill imposing new curbs on rates and fees levied by card issuers.

The Senate passed the credit card measure with an overwhelming majority on Tuesday -- a 90-5 vote.

VIDEO: Guns allowed in national parks
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President Obama said today he is planning to sign the bill into law later this week.

Referring to the mortage and housing bills he signed today, Obama said: "These two laws together with the comprehensive credit card reforms that I hope to sign later this week represent fundamental change that will help ensure a fair shake for hardworking Americans."

While a move on tighter credit card regulations by the House is likely to please some consumers, another measure has some scratching their heads.

In a separate 279-147 vote, the House approved an unrelated Senate amendment that permits concealed weapons in national parks and wildlife refuges where allowed by states.

Current regulations in national parks require that gun owners have their weapons unloaded and stored while they are in the park. But unless they are banned by state law, gun holders can bring their loaded weapons into national parks, which has some officials worrying that it would make it more difficult for them to pursue wrongdoers.

Five of the most-visited national parks are in states that allow concealed weapons.

Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., and other pro-gun lawmakers pushed a vote on that amendment before the Credit Card Bill of Rights passed the Congress.

Coburn, when asked today what the Credit Cardholders' Bill of Rights has to do with guns, responded: "Easy. ... It's not about guns. It's about states' rights, being able to determine what is in the best interests of them and it's about the Second Amendment and it's not about bureaucrats telling Americans when their rights will be taken away."

In the Senate, 27 Democrats supported the measure, while 105 Democrats voted "Yes" on the House side.

Those who did not vote for the bill expressed outrage.

"Today is a victory for every American who holds a credit card," said Rep. Carolyn Maloney, D-N.Y. "I regret that added to it was the unrelated and dangerous gun bill, and we should not have had to do credit card reform at the barrel of a gun."

The credit card bill gives consumers expanded protections, fewer fees and more clarity.

White House Hails Credit Card Bill

"Many Americans depend on credit cards to get by in this economy, and today they have won a giant victory that ensures they are protected from practices that would drive them further into debt, while also making our economy stronger," said Sen. Christopher Dodd, D-Conn., chairman of the Banking Committee.

The legislation could bring a bit of breathing room for many American families struggling to pay their bills.

The legislation won't cap interest rates, as some had hoped, and the government can't force consumers to make prudent financial decisions. But this bill, within nine months, would require a new level of clarity for consumers where the rules of the credit card game would be at the very least clearly spelled out.

The main goals of the measure are to prevent unfair interest rate hikes, sudden changes in terms and eliminate exorbitant and unnecessary fees.

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