WASHINGTON - Here is how Philadelphia-area senators voted on major issues last week (House in recess):
Debit-card fees. Voting 54-45, the Senate failed to garner 60 votes needed to shelve new rules that will sharply reduce the fees that large banks charge retailers for debit-card sales. Under Federal Reserve regulations soon to take effect, these "swipe fees" are to be sharply lowered from their present range of 1 to 3 percent of the transaction cost. Authorized by the 2010 Dodd-Frank financial-regulation law, the rules are likely to cap fees at 12 cents or so per transaction.
Chase, Wells Fargo, Bank of America, and other large banks collected an estimated $20 billion last year in debit-card fees. The new limits on swipe fees will exempt banks with less than $10 billion in assets. This vote occurred during consideration of an Economic Development Administration reauthorization (S 782) that remained in debate.
A yes vote was to delay the new rules.
Voting yes: Thomas Carper (D., Del.), Chris Coons (D., Del.), and Pat Toomey (R., Pa.).
Voting no: Bob Casey (D., Pa.), Frank Lautenberg (D., N.J.), and Robert Menendez (D., N.J.).
Curbs on regulations. The Senate shelved legislation to impose sweeping curbs on federal regulations that affect small businesses. The tally of 53-46 fell short of the 60 votes needed to advance the amendment to S 782 (above). In part, the measure would require agencies to cancel regulations that they have failed to review every 10 years; establish pro-business advisory panels at all agencies for reviewing new regulations; give small businesses expanded power to challenge regulations in court, and require agencies to take into account the indirect as well as direct economic costs of proposed regulations on small businesses.
A yes vote was to curb the regulation of small businesses.
Voting yes: Toomey.
Voting no: Carper, Casey, Coons, Lautenberg, and Menendez.
Solicitor General Verrilli. Voting 72-16, the Senate confirmed Donald B. Verrilli Jr. as the 47th solicitor general of the United States, a position that entails representing the executive branch before the Supreme Court. Verrilli, 54, has served in the Obama administration as deputy counsel to the president and deputy attorney general and before that was a litigator in private practice.
A yes vote was to confirm Verrilli.
Voting yes: Carper, Casey, Coons, Lautenberg, Menendez, and Toomey.