Senate Appropriations Package on Hold

Due to partisan disputes in the Senate, there were no votes to pass legislation last week.

September 25, 2023

NACS previously reported that a vote on the Credit Card Competition Act was expected last week, as the sponsors of the legislation, Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Senator Roger Marshall (R-KS), were advocating for the bill to be considered as an amendment to a package of appropriations spending bills known as the “minibus.” However, due to partisan disputes over spending in the Senate, the appropriations package was placed on hold. With no bill moving through the Senate, there was nothing to amend with the swipe fee bill.

Industry outreach to Senators amplified over the past week, with over 6,000 messages sent to the Hill from the convenience industry alone telling lawmakers to support the CCCA. Other retail sectors had similar, large outpourings of support. Fifty convenience retailers and state association executives traveled to Washington, DC on September 20 to make the pitch for the legislation to Senators in person, as part of a fly-in coordinated by NACS and the Merchants Payments Coalition. Senate sponsors of the bill also held a press conference on September 20 with business owners, including NACS representatives.

“Visa and Mastercard make sure that small businesses like mine get hit with the highest credit card swipe fees. They should not be able to get away with centrally fixing those fees, but they do. We need the Credit Card Competition Act to finally bring some market forces to bear for small businesses. Without it, the situation will just keep getting worse,” said Jared Scheeler, 2021-22 NACS chairman and CEO of Dickinson, North Dakota-based The Hub Convenience Stores Inc., during the press conference.

“Credit card swipe fees are not the result of a competitive market, and our fees increased more than 28% last year alone. This problem will never fix itself. We need Congress to act to protect Main Street from these unfair fees,” added Doug Yawberry, president of Knoxville, Tennessee-based Weigel’s Inc.

In July, Senator Marshall was given assurances by Senate leadership that the Credit Card Competition Act would be given a vote this Congress as part of negotiations around a previous attempt to get the bill attached as an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act.

The only way the Credit Card Competition Act will become law is if members of Congress repeatedly hear how much their constituents need it. NACS is calling on its members to keep up the pressure and continue pushing for the Credit Card Competition Act’s passage. You can also take the fight to the store level by displaying one of NACS's pump toppers or window displays. There are multiple designs and sizes to choose from, and if your Member of Congress is already a supporter of the Credit Card Competition Act, “Thank You” displays are also available for download. The credit card industry won’t rest in its opposition to these reforms. We need to work harder than them to show why reforms are needed.