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Center-right groups urge Congress to repeal Durbin Amendment

Eighteen center-right groups sent a letter to Congress on Monday urging the repeal of Durbin Amendment price controls on banks and credit unions and the support of bipartisan legislation that would accomplish that goal.

Recent news reports revealed that some gas stations have been charging a price differential of as much as $2 per gallon for consumers who use debit or credit cards to pay at the pump.

“As advocates of free-market economics and limited government, we urge caution in your responses and would oppose attempts to solve these problems by using the power of the federal government to force price controls on gasoline retailers,” the groups said in the letter.

The groups also urged Congress to repeal the controversial Durbin Amendment, a provision of the 2010 Dodd-Frank Act that caps the amount a bank can charge a merchant to process a debit transaction. Little evidence has surfaced to support the claim by retailers that Durbin savings have been passed to consumers.

The groups said that the Durbin Amendment, by law, does not cover the costs of debit card technology, resulting in the costs of the technology being passed on to consumers. The groups urged Congress to pass H.R. 3156, the bipartisan Consumer Debit Card Protection Act, which would repeal the Durbin Amendment.

“The solution here is not more regulation or political demagoguery,” the groups said. “The solution is the free market. Let banks, merchants and payment card networks work out interchange fees in a system of free and voluntary exchange. Let consumers decide what products work best for them at what prices, and let competition and innovation (not politicians) drive them to the best products. Repealing the debit card interchange price caps entirely and getting the government out of the way is the only way to restore balance in this market.”

The groups include the Americans for Tax Reform, the Center for Individual Freedom, the National Tax Limitation Committee, the National Center for Public Policy Research, the 60 Plus Association, the Institute for Liberty, Americans for Prosperity, R Street, Freedom Action, the Taxpayers Protection Alliance, ConservativeHQ.com, the Club for Growth, the Faith and Freedom Coalition, the Competitive Enterprise Institute, American Commitment, the Maryland Center-Right Coalition, Let Freedom Ring and Less Government.

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