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The U.S. House of Representatives yesterday voted 331 to 92 to approve a bill that would expedite enforcement of key provisions of the Credit Card Accountability, Responsibility and Disclosure Act passed last May to Dec. 1 from Feb. 22, 2010. The bill's sponsor, Rep. Carolyn Maloney, D-N.Y., said yesterday in a statement that card issuers have "redoubled many of the abusive practices" that led to the reform bill's passage by raising interest rates and fees "with absolutely no regard for the dire position of millions of their customers." The American Bankers Association, which testified last month before the House Financial Services Committee, says issuers' resources already are stretched thin to comply with the law's existing deadline. "Accelerating the timeframe for implementation of the CARD Act will be extremely difficult, if not impossible, for card issuers," Kenneth J. Clayton, the association's senior vice president and general counsel, said yesterday in a statement. He suggested that expediting the bill would create "significant confusion" for consumers and likely would "further restrict access to credit for both consumers and small businesses, all to the detriment of the broader economy." Some legislative observers believe it is unlikely the bill will advance to the Senate, where Sen. Mark Udall, D-Colo., has introduced companion legislation. Nick Bourke, manager of the Safe Credit Card Project for the Pew Charitable Trust, tells CardLine that, although time is short to expedite compliance with the card-reform law, passage in the Senate is not impossible. "It is remarkable that the bill (to expedite compliance) got this far so quickly; I would not have foreseen this a few weeks ago," he says.

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