FREE MARKET GROUPS ASK REPUBLICANS TO REBUFF CARD FEES AMENDMENT: Leaders from nearly three dozen right-leaning and free-market groups are calling on Republican lawmakers to reject the proposed NDAA amendment from Sens. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) and Roger Marshall (R-Kan.) targeting the so-called swipe fees credit card networks like Visa and Mastercard charge merchants to run transactions.

— “It is abundantly clear that special interest groups are using the federal government to alter the credit card market to benefit themselves and not consumers,” the groups argued in a letter to members of Congress today.

— The signatories, which include Americans for Tax Reform, FreedomWorks, R Street Institute, the National Taxpayers Union, Americans for Prosperity, Heritage Action, the Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council and the Competitive Enterprise Institute, contended that the provision directing the Federal Reserve to issue rules requiring large card-issuing banks or credit unions to offer at least one alternate network that isn’t affiliated with Visa or Mastercard amounted to a “backdoor price control.”

— They echoed the objections raised by banks, credit unions and the card networks themselves, who have said such a provision poses threats not only to the credit card rewards ecosystem, but to fraud protection and cybersecurity efforts. “This is textbook rent seeking behavior, anathema to free market principles, and should be staunchly opposed by Republican lawmakers,” the coalition wrote.

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