Credit Card Momentum

While the White House lost a Senate vote yesterday on the mortgage cramdown issue, backers of a credit card reform bill won an easy victory in the House.

The plan to rein in some controversial billing practices of the credit card industry - a bill known as the Credit Card Holder's Bill of Rights - got wide support from both parties.

The vote was 357-70 - a bipartisan rebuke of the banking and credit card industry, as Republicans voted for the bill by a 105-69 margin.

A similar bill was approved last year by 312-112, so over 40 votes have shifted in a year.

"Everyone knows this bill will be signed," said Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

Only one Democrat voted no.  Any guess?

Rep. Stephanie Herseth Sandlin of South Dakota, which is home to some big credit card company operations.

While critics of the bill have loudly complained about the legislation, it's obvious just how popular the measure is by yesterday's vote, as opponents were far, far short of a majority.

"Today's action is another example of the federal

government overstepping its boundaries into the private marketplace," said Rep. Pete Sessions (R-Texas.)

But the opposition of Sessions and others was overwhelmed by the bipartisan majority.

Lawmakers in both parties related stories of how constituents complained about unfair billing practices, sudden interest rate hikes, hidden fees and more.

"It levels the playing field between consumers and credit card companies," said Rep. Alan Grayson (D-Florida.)

Senate leaders quickly said they plan to bring the bill up next week for action, and I would bet the vote there will be just as strong in support.

Critics of the bill say it will result in less credit being offered to Americans, as companies pull back on their credit offers.

But their press releases were few and far between, and few of them went to the floor to try to slow the legislation.

That seems likely to be repeated in the Senate as well.

Consumer groups weren't entirely pleased, as they wanted some even tougher measures in the bill, like a cap on the interest rate that can be charged to customers.  But that was left out.

Next stop is the Senate.

You can also follow Jamie Dupree on both Twitter and on Facebook.