Chamber Supports S. 1753, The National Consumer Credit System Improvement Act
TO MEMBERS OF THE UNITED STATES SENATE:
I am writing on behalf of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the world's largest business federation, representing more than three million businesses of every size, sector and region, in strong support of S. 1753, the National Consumer Credit System Improvement Act, and to urge you to oppose amendments to S. 1753, specifically the Boxer/Feinstein amendment, that could significantly weaken the country's national consumer credit system.
The Fair Credit Reporting Act, FCRA, underpins the nation's consumer economy, providing quick, easy, and affordable access to credit to millions of American families. However, this national system is threatened by a potential lapse of the single, uniform standards that are currently in place. Such a lapse, due to occur at the end of 2003 if Congress does not act, would make it more difficult for American families to obtain credit, and would eliminate the ability of many creditworthy families and small businesses to obtain credit altogether.
The Senate Banking Committee, after an extraordinary number of hearings and an extensive bipartisan process, has passed out a strong bill with substantial support from both sides of the aisle. This legislation would, among other things, retain this national uniform standard, and would implement a significant number of steps to combat identity theft and protect consumers.
However, some of the proposed amendments to S. 1753 would significantly threaten the consumer credit system, endangering the ability of consumers and businesses, and particularly small businesses, to continue to obtain access to credit. While these amendments may be presented as "pro-consumer" amendments, their effect in the real world would be anticonsumer. In particular, these amendments could severely restrain a consumer's ability to obtain credit. We urge you to oppose these amendments.
Specifically, an amendment may be offered by Senators Boxer and Feinstein pertaining to a practice commonly known as "affiliate sharing." Although the amendment is presumably aimed at sharing of financial information, it would have a devastating effect on non-financial businesses of all sizes, such as retailers, who may share information for a host of purposes, such as product updates, to provide "one-stop-shopping" for customers, or even to update customers preferences with regard to catalogues and other communications. Therefore, we strongly urge you to OPPOSE the Boxer/Feinstein amendment to S. 1753.
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce strongly urges you to support passage of S. 1753 and to oppose any amendments that threaten the continued viability of our country's consumer credit system, and specifically the Boxer/Feinstein amendment. We will strongly consider "Key Voting" any votes on the underlying bill or amendments on or relating to these issues.
R. Bruce Josten
Executive Vice President, Government Affairs
U.S. Chamber of Commerce