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Swipe-fee reform amendment squashed by Senate

WASHINGTON — The retail industry won a big victory in Washington, D.C., as the Senate defeated an amendment that proposed to delay swipe-fee reform for another 12 months.

As reported Wednesday morning by Drug Store News, Sens. Jon Tester, D-Mont., and Bob Corker, R-Tenn., offered an amendment to legislation that was designed to delay swipe-fee reform — which is set to go into effect July 21 by the Federal Reserve — and built on Tester's previously introduced Debit Interchange Fee Study Act of 2011. The Senate vote was 54-45, with one senator opting to not vote, leaving the amendment six votes shy of approval.

The retail industry, particularly the lobbying groups, lauded the decision late Wednesday.

“This is a landmark victory for American consumers that will give them the break from skyrocketing swipe fees that they have been seeking for years," National Retail Federation president and CEO Matthew Shay said. "With the economy still trying to gain momentum and consumers facing skyrocketing costs for necessities like food and fuel, this badly-needed reform will help ensure our nation’s economic recovery. It will prevent more than a billion dollars a month from being pocketed by big banks and, in turn, allow retailers to hold down prices for consumers."

The National Association of Chain Drug Stores, which represents the drug retailing industry, said the defeat of the amendment was a victory for both consumers and the retail industry, curbing costs that affect each group.

“We thank Sen. Dick Durbin,D-Ill., for his leadership in bringing this issue to the forefront of Congress, and working diligently to prevent a delay to the pro-retailer and pro-consumer swipe fee reform,” NACDS president and CEO Steve Anderson said.

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