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Political notebook: Merchants celebrate failure of Durbin Amendment repeal

By Josh Bergeron

josh.bergeron@salisburypost.com

A national association of merchants this week specifically targeted Rep. Ted Budd, R-13, when celebrating a decision to drop an effort to repeal a cap on debit card fees.

Congressional Republicans on Thursday removed consideration of a Durbin Amendment repeal from a bill to gut legislation passed after the Great Recession. In recent weeks, Budd had advocated for repealing the Durbin Amendment, which sets a cap on fees retailers pay when consumers use debit cards. Banks supported Budd’s effort. Retailers lobbied against a repeal.

Following the news that the Durbin Amendment repeal would no longer be included a measure to alter Dodd-Frank, the Alliance for Main Street Fairness issues a statement “directed at Rep. Ted Budd.”

“Yesterday’s news that the House Financial Services Committee would drop efforts to repeal swipe fee reform from their financial services overhaul is a big win for North Carolina retailers and restaurants and the customers they serve,” said Kevin Lawlor, a spokesperson for the alliance. “Repeal of this important reform would have allowed banks to ratchet up fees on merchants every time a customer pays with a debit card.”

Budd, who said he didn’t want “any backroom deals” to remove the Durbin Amendment repeal, did not issue a statement in conjunction with Thursday’s news. The association said Budd allied himself with “Wall Street banks” in his effort to repeal the Durbin Amendment.

Hudson says Trump’s budget shows shared goals

Rep. Richard Hudson, R-8, said President Donald Trump’s proposed budget is an example of goals he shares with the president.

The budget, unveiled last week, includes large cuts to government spending, projected large growth the American economy and billions of dollars in increased military spending. In Trump’s budget, cuts would include food stamps, Medicaid, highway funding, crop insurance and medical research, the Associated Press reported. The budget includes $1.6 billion for a border wall and a limit on subsidies to farmers.

The budget also “double counts” $2.1 trillion in revenue from economic growth, the Associated Press reported. The money would pay for both tax cuts and deficit reduction.

Hudson released a supportive statement about the budget shortly after its release last week.

“I’m pleased to see the president shares my goals to balance our budget while strengthening our military and cutting Washington’s wasteful spending,” Hudson said in an emailed statement. “I look forward to further reviewing the administration’s blueprint and working with my colleagues to advance a responsible, balanced budget that grows the economy instead of the government and offers real solutions to our nation’s most pressing problems.”

Contact reporter Josh Bergeron at 704-797-4246.

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