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Gene L. Dodaro, U.S. comptroller general

Bipartisan group requests data on ‘burden’ of swipe fees on federal budget

We’ve got another salvo to report in Washington’s credit card wars. This time, pro-retail lawmakers are trying to pull the finances of the federal government into the fight.

A bipartisan group of House members and senators will send a letter this afternoon to Comptroller General Gene Dodaro that asks for a full accounting of how much the federal government itself has been spending on credit card swipe fees in recent years.

Led by Rep. Lance Gooden (R-Texas) and Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), the members say they’re “concerned with the increasing burden of interchange fees paid by the federal government, an issue that affects countless taxpayers and nearly every federal agency.” The lawmakers estimate that “excessive fees” could cost the federal budget more than $200 million a year.

Several of the lawmakers signing on to this letter have been pushing for a vote on the Credit Card Competition Act. That bill is an attempt to undercut the market dominance of payment giants Mastercard and Visa by requiring the firms to offer another choice of payment processor on their cards. Banks have been fighting that legislative effort fiercely.

Here’s more from the letter, which you can read in full here.

Other signees will include Sens. Roger Marshall (R-Kan.) and Peter Welch (D-Vt.) and Reps. Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.), Tom Tiffany (R-Wis.) and Jeff Van Drew (R-N.J.).

Brendan Pedersen

Presented by The Coalition to Project American Jobs

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