Mark Udall's Last Stand

November 19 2009, 10:11 AM

As the U.S. Senate rolled out an $849 billion health-care-reform bill yesterday, you may have missed the other big policy story of the day. In an impassioned plea that fell on many deaf ears, Colorado Democrat Mark Udall argued that something needed to be done about credit card gouging. He asked his fellow senators to support a House bill meant to put the reforms of the Credit Card Accountability, Responsibility and Disclosure Act into place two months early. "The last thing our families need are higher interest rates and extra fees, especially on consumers who are already playing by the rules," Udall said (via the Fort Collins Coloradoan). But his calls for a vote, which would have frozen credit card rates and fees until stricter regulations go into effect in February, were shot down by Republicans. Senator Thad Cochran, a Mississippi Republican, delivered the death blow "on behalf of several senators on this side of the aisle." Half of Americans report that their interest rates have been raised in the past six months while Congress has considered limits on them, according to a Rasmussen Reports survey (via Deseret News). A majority of Americans, 77 percent, think credit card companies are taking advantage of consumers with their interest charges. McClatchy Newspapers, meanwhile, tries to figure out what you can do about high credit card rates. The answer: "Not much."