Press Releases

 

Saturday
May232009

CHQ - Birds of a Feather Flock Together 

McCain Supports Crist in Florida Senate GOP Primary
CHQ's News From The Front - It is said that birds of a feather flock together, which may explain why Senator John McCain is backing Republican gadfly Charlie Crist in the Florida GOP primary for U.S. Senate. Crist will face Marco Rubio, a proven young conservative from Miami that could add a strong conservative voice among Senate Republicans. [Find this Story in News From The Front]

 

Daily Lickskillet: Read today's Lickskillet comic here to find out how little the Democrats' voting strategy has changed.

Articles in News From The Front:

  • The Revolution Against the Constitution
  • President Obama: Neo-Marxist
  • Some Republicans Distance Themselves from Dick Cheney
  • Mulshine: Name That Socialist
  • 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' for Christians

 

Saturday
May232009

CPR-Action - Response to Governor Lynch's "principles" statement 

CPR-Action Comments onGovernor Lynch's Statement After Amendment Fails in House

 

 

Concord – Today, CPR-Action Executive Director, Kevin Smith, commented onthestatement from Governor Lynch's Office that if the legislature passes legislation that maintains his "principles", he will sign thebill.

 

"Once again, we see the Governor going back on his word. After declaring for years that he opposed gay marriage, the Governor then stated he had to 'do what was best' for the state only after the House and Senate passed gay marriage, breaking his word to the citizens of New Hampshire. Now, after stating he would only sign the bill if the legislature passed 'this language', he is again hedging his word by stating it needs to maintain its 'principles'."

 

Smith continued, "It is incredibly ironic at this point that the Governor would even be speaking of "principles" when hecan't evenabide bythe simpleprinciple of keeping ones word."

 

 

CPR-Action is the legislative advocacy arm of Cornerstone Policy Research.

 

Saturday
May232009

FACT SHEET: REFORMS TO PROTECT AMERICAN CREDIT CARD HOLDERS 

President Obama signs Credit Card Accountability, Responsibility, and Disclosure Act

 

WASHINGTON – Today, President Obama signs the Credit Card Accountability, Responsibility, and Disclosure (CARD) Act of 2009, marking a turning point for American consumers and ending the days of unfair rate hikes and hidden fees.

 

Americans need a healthy flow of credit in our economy, but for too long credit card contracts and practices have been unfairly and deceptively complicated, often leading consumers to pay more than they reasonably expect. Every year, Americans pay around $15 billion in penalty fees. Nearly 80 percent of American families have a credit card, and 44 percent of families carry a balance on their credit cards. To tackle these problems, the Administration moved swiftly with the Congress to enact reforms.

 

“With this new law, consumers will have the strong and reliable protections they deserve. We will continue to press for reform that is built on transparency, accountability, and mutual responsibility – values fundamental to the new foundation we seek to build for our economy,” President Obama said.

 

In the Senate and throughout the campaign, President Obama called for measures to strengthen consumer protection in the credit card market. This legislation was made possible by the leadership of Chairman Frank and Representatives Maloney and Gutierrez in the House, and Chairman Dodd, Ranking Member Shelby and Senator Levin in the Senate. It builds on the strong first step taken by the Federal Reserve toward improving disclosures and ending unfair practices.

 

Principles for Long-term Credit Card Reform

 

  • First, there have to be strong and reliable protections for consumers.
  • Second, all the forms and statements that credit card companies send out have to have plain language that is in plain sight.
  • Third, we have to make sure that people can shop for a credit card that meets their needs without fear of being taken advantage of.
  • Finally, we need more accountability in the system, so that we can hold those responsible who do engage in deceptive practices that hurt families and consumers.

 

The Administration applauds the legislative efforts of both the House and the Senate. By working closely together, the House Financial Services Committee and the Senate Banking Committee were able quickly to enact strong protections that the President signs into law today. Below we highlight the critical elements of reform in this new law:

  • Bans Unfair Rate Increases
  • Prevents Unfair Fee Traps
  • Plain Sight /Plain Language Disclosures
  • Accountability
  • Protections for Students and Young People

 

Key Elements of the Credit CARD Act of 2009

 

Bans Unfair Rate Increases: Financial institutions will no longer raise rates unfairly, and consumers will have confidence that the interest rates on their existing balances will not be hiked.

  • Bans Retroactive Rate Increases: Bans rate increases on existing balances due to “any time, any reason” or “universal default” and severely restricts retroactive rate increases due to late payment.
  • First Year Protection: Contract terms must be clearly spelled out and stable for the entirety of the first year. Firms may continue to offer promotional rates with new accounts or during the life of an account, but these rates must be clearly disclosed and last at least 6 months.

 

Bans Unfair Fee Traps:

  • Ends Late Fee Traps: Institutions will have to give card holders a reasonable time to pay the monthly bill – at least 21 calendar days from time of mailing. The act also ends late fee traps such as weekend deadlines, due dates that change each month, and deadlines that fall in the middle of the day.
  • Enforces Fair Interest Calculation: Credit card companies will be required to apply excess payments to the highest interest balance first, as consumers expect them to do. The act also ends the confusing and unfair practice by which issuers use the balance in a previous month to calculate interest charges on the current month, so called “double-cycle” billing.
  • Requires Opt-In to Over-Limit Fees: Consumers will find it easier to avoid over-limit fees because institutions will have to obtain a consumer’s permission to process transactions that would place the account over the limit.
  • Restrains Unfair Sub-Prime Fees: Fees on subprime, low-limit credit cards will be substantially restricted.
  • Limits Fees on Gift and Stored Value Cards: The act enhances disclosure on fees for gift and stored value cards and restricts inactivity fees unless the card has been inactive for at least 12 months.

 

Plain Sight /Plain Language Disclosures: Credit card contract terms will be disclosed in language that consumers can see and understand so they can avoid unnecessary costs and manage their finances.

Plain Language in Plain Sight: Creditors will give consumers clear disclosures of account terms before consumers open an account, and clear statements of the activity on consumers’ accounts afterwards. For example, pre-opening disclosures will highlight fees consumers may be charged and periodic statements will conspicuously display fees they have paid in the current month and the year to date as well as the reasons for those fees. These disclosures will help consumers make informed choices about using the right financial products and managing their own financial needs. Model disclosures will be updated regularly based on reviews of the market, empirical research, and testing with consumers to ensure that disclosures remain clear, useful, and relevant.

  • Real Information about the Financial Consequences of Decisions: Issuers will be required to show the consequences to consumers of their credit decisions.
    • Issuers will need to display on periodic statements how long it would take to pay off the existing balance – and the total interest cost – if the consumer paid only the minimum due.
    • Issuers will also have to display the payment amount and total interest cost to pay off the existing balance in 36 months.

 

Accountability: The act will help ensure accountability from both credit card issuers and regulators who are responsible for preventing unfair practices and enforcing protections.

  • Public posting of credit card contracts: Today credit card contracts are usually available only in hard copy and not in plain language. Now issuers will be required to make contracts available on the Internet in a usable format. Regulators and consumer advocates will be better able to monitor changes in credit card terms and evaluate whether current disclosures and protections are adequate.
  • Holds regulators accountable to enforce the law: Regulators will be required to report annually to the Congress on their enforcement of credit card protections
  • Holds regulators accountable to keep protections current:
    • Regulators will be required to request public input on trends in the credit card market and potential consumer protection issues on a biennial basis to determine what new regulations or disclosures might be needed.
    • Regulators will be required either to update the applicable rules, or to publish findings if they deem further regulation unnecessary.
  • Increases penalties: Card issuers that violate these new restrictions will face significantly higher penalties than under current law, which should make violations less likely in the first place.

 

Cleans Up Credit Card Practices For Young People at Universities. The act contains new protections for college students and young adults, including a requirement that card issuers and universities disclose agreements with respect to the marketing or distribution of credit cards to students.

 

Saturday
May232009

Daily News from the Veterans Today Network 

THE LAST HOUSE ON THE BLOCK

New Directions, Serving the Forgotten
by Matt Davison, Staff Writer


In 2006, I was coordinating a pilot program for the Department of Labor, called the Incarcerated Veterans Transition Program (IVTP). Since this was a pilot program, the there was always the option that the Department of Labor could discontinue it. In the Fall of 2007, I got word that IVTP was being terminated. Knowing that the non-profit I was working for at the time could not afford to keep me on the payroll without this funding, I thought about where I would most like to continue my service to veterans. I had known about New Directions, Inc. They had an excellent reputation for their holistic approach to serving veterans in need and at risk. Fortunately, there was an opening. More fortunately, I was able to fill that opening. Read More >

 

Today's Featured Stories...
Desert Storm Veterans ALERT
Top 10 Veterans News from Around the Country 5-22-09
Secretary Shinseki Announces $215 Million in Projects for Rural Veterans
Pictures That Speak a Thousand Words- Desert Storm
History of CIA Torture
Memorial Day is Just Another Day for Vets and Military Families not Welcomed

Saturday
May232009

CEI Weekly: California: The failed model 

>>Shaping the Debate

[VIDEO] Myron Ebell on Car Mileage Regulations

Myron Ebell featuredon CNBC

http://ceiondemand.org/2009/05/19/myron-ebell-on-car-mileage-regulations/

 

[VIDEO] Sam Kazman Debates Obama’s Car Mileage Regulations

Sam Kazman featured on CNN

http://ceiondemand.org/2009/05/19/sam-kazman-debates-obamas-car-mileage-regulations/

 

Supreme Court To Hear Sarbanes-Oxley Challenge

Hans Bader featured in The Washington Examiner

http://cei.org/articles/2009/05/21/supreme-court-hear-sarbanes-oxley-challenge

 

Florida flirting with fiscal hurricane disaster

Eli Lehrer featured The Gainesville Sun

http://cei.org/articles/2009/05/20/florida-flirting-fiscal-hurricane-disaster

 

Rather than vilify bottled water, scale back recycling programs

Angela Logomasini featured in The Post Standard

http://cei.org/articles/2009/05/18/rather-vilify-bottled-water-scale-back-recycling-programs

 

Business Will Miss Justice Souter

Hans Bader featured in the The Wall Street Journal

http://cei.org/articles/2009/05/19/business-will-miss-justice-souter

 

 

>>Best of the Blogs

California here we come?

by Myron Ebell

"California’s voters on Tuesday overwhelmingly rejected a series of tax increases that Republican Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and the Democratic-controlled state legislature claimed were necessary to save the State from bankruptcy. The voters have it right, as do the conservative Republicans in the legislature."

http://www.openmarket.org/2009/05/21/california-here-we-come/

 

New fuel economy rules will make cars more costly, less safe, trigger regulatory cascade

by Marlo Lewis

"At some point today, the EPA and the Department of Transportation (DOT) will propose a first-ever joint regulation to establish first-ever greenhouse gas (GHG) emission standards for new motor vehicles . .. This is bad news for three reasons . . . New cars will be less safe[,] . . .New cars will be more costly[,] . . . The GHG standards will starta regulatory chain reaction with potentially devastating economic impacts.

http://www.openmarket.org/2009/05/19/new-fuel-economy-rules-will-make-cars-more-costly-less-safe-trigger-regulatory-cascade/

 

EWaste Recycling Bans: Wasting Opportunity

by Angela Logomasini

"To sum it up, developing nations don’t have the same environmental standards as we do for the same reasons they don’t have the same labor standards—they are too poor. Keeping them poor will only keep them poor! That’s hardly a policy for progress!"

http://www.openmarket.org/2009/05/20/ewaste-recycling-bans-wasting-opportunity/

 

Class Warfare Against the Financially Responsible

by Hans Bader

"Earlier, the Obama Administration pushed through $250 billion in mortgage bailouts, to bail out even some high-income borrowers with normal mortgage payments, and forced financial institutions it took over in the name of fiscal responsibility, like Freddie Mac, to run up billions in losses bailing out irresponsible borrowers."

http://www.openmarket.org/2009/05/21/class-warfare-against-the-financially-responsible/

 

Fulfilling Prophecies

by Ryan Young

"CBO estimated today that unemployment will top out at around 10.5% before it recovers. Congress is doing its part to make CBO’s dire prophecy a reality .. . The Congressman may be unaware that when workers become more expensive to hire, employers hire fewer of them. Or else he is more concerned with making CBO’s predictions come true."

http://www.openmarket.org/2009/05/21/fulfilling-prophecies/

 

 

>>CEI in the News

The Financial Post--Myron Ebell

http://cei.org/citation/2009/05/20/biggest-and-worst-0

 

Business Insurance--Eli Lehrer

http://www.businessinsurance.com/cgi-bin/article.pl?articleId=27658

 

The Chicago Tribune--Myron Ebell

http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/nationworld/la-na-emissions19-2009may19,0,3995555.story

 

St. Louis Post Dispatch--Myron Ebell

http://www.stltoday.com/stltoday/lifestyle/stories.nsf/livegreen/story/3FAED3CFD0E72D74862575BC000ABD3E?OpenDocument

 

 

>>Podcast

Episode 43: A House in Gross Disorder

On the news front, we discuss pending “cap and trade” legislation for greenhouse gases, scandalous corruption charges in the British Parliament, and new hope for economic and political reform in India. We also return to Craigslist’s fight against state attorney general activism and some highly competitive Olympic News.
http://www.libertyweek.org/

 

 

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