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Providing for Consideration of H.R. 627, Credit Cardholders' Bill of Rights Act of 2009

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC

PROVIDING FOR CONSIDERATION OF H.R. 627, CREDIT CARDHOLDERS' BILL OF RIGHTS ACT OF 2009 -- (House of Representatives - April 30, 2009)


Mr. ROSKAM. I thank the gentleman for yielding.

I offered an amendment before the Rules Committee, and unfortunately, it was sort of swatted away in a partisan fashion. I really regret that.

I think that the tone that we hear many times coming from the leadership of this Congress is there is no pride of authorship, there is willingness to listen, and yet, somehow the conduct and the procedure that we have seen coming from the Rules Committee has really fallen short of that soaring rhetoric. Let me give you an example of that.

I offered an amendment which was very straightforward, and it directed the GAO to make sure that the requirements of this bill would not restrict access to credit or increase the cost of credit for small business.

And all it does is it would have delayed the effective date of the legislation until the President determined that the GAO study concluded that there was no extra burden for small business. And if the President differed in his determination, all he had to do was justify it.

So this isn't a power grab, this isn't overstating or overstepping, but what it is saying is, look, we all cumulatively talk about how important small business is. Everybody, when we go back to our districts, when we go to our teletown hall meetings, when we talk to the chambers of commerce and the rotary clubs, everybody talks about how important small business is.

And, yet, there is a very real possibility that the underlying bill that the majority is advancing right now is going to have an adverse effect on credit availability for small business.

Now, we have heard, during the course of this national economic debate and conversation that we have had, that we hold in highest esteem the following groups. We say we are very concerned about the small businessperson. We are very concerned about the entrepreneur. We are very concerned about the self-employed.

And, yet, when an opportunity comes along to stand up for that very group and basically say, whoa, hold on, just a second here, let's be very, very careful when we are changing credit policy that everybody acknowledges is the life and blood of a small business, yet, suddenly, we are just quickly going to run roughshod over that group, when all we are doing is saying let us have a vote on an amendment?

This isn't ramming something down; just have the vote. Just let the people's House decide.

But yet the Rules Committee, Madam Speaker, was very, very dismissive of it and said, no, no, no, we are really not interested in that approach, and we don't even want to hear about it. I think that's regrettable.

I think that this House can do better. I think this rule can be much better than this. What's to be afraid of? What's to be afraid about a vote and a conversation in the people's House, on the floor of the people's House about standing up for small business.

Now, I know that there are other elements of the bill that claim to be helpful to small business. But I will tell you what, when it comes down to it, if we are that cavalier that we are not willing to have a conversation and a vote, a recorded vote on an amendment that simply says we are going to put a pause button on this to make sure that the GAO looks at this, to make sure it doesn't have an adverse effect on small business, I think it's deeply regrettable.

And notwithstanding the soaring rhetoric that we hear coming from the leadership of the majority, Madam Speaker, notwithstanding the promises, notwithstanding the sort of bumper-sticker mentality that you hear, see out and about in this town, I think it's really regrettable. Here we have this opportunity to stand up for small business, to make sure that they are treated well, and that they are treated with respect and that they have access to the credit that they need.

I think we can do much better. I am, therefore, urging people to vote against the rule.


Mr. ROSKAM. I want to thank the gentleman very much, Madam Speaker, for yielding to me.

When the gentleman uses language like allowing, we are allowing a debate, we are allowing certain amendments, I think we can do better than that. Look, 52 amendments were submitted.

That means, do the quick math, that's a whole host of ideas that were just sort of cast aside. We can do better, 17 out of 52. We know we can do better than that.

Let's vote against this rule and come back and do it the right way.


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