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Senate Proceeding on May 18th, 2011 :: 6:05:15 to 6:15:50
Total video length: 8 hours 32 minutes Stream Tools: Stream Overview | Edit Time

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Jon Tester

6:05:13 to 6:05:35( Edit History Discussion )

Jon Tester: to senator tester. mr. tester: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from montana. mr. tester: i think this is appropriate. i would ask unanimous consent to be as if in morning business. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. tester: i want to thank senator boxer and senator grassley for their generosity. i'm not here to talk about goodwin liu. i'm going to talk about debit interchange. in a matter of weeks, the

Jon Tester

6:05:15 to 6:15:50( Edit History Discussion )
Speech By: Jon Tester

Jon Tester

6:05:36 to 6:05:57( Edit History Discussion )

Jon Tester: government is planning to price fix debit card swipe fees below, below the cost of doing business. they're going to price fix debit card swipe fees below the cost of doing business. on the surface, the plan might make sense. peel back the layers, you'll see why there is a whole bunch of folks out there on both sides of the aisle that are raising a flag.

Jon Tester

6:05:58 to 6:06:18( Edit History Discussion )

Jon Tester: now, i'm not asking to repeal the rules or even change them. i'm asking that we take a closer look so that we can get the information to understand the impacts, both intended and unintended. i have listened to the feedback my colleagues have shared on this issue, i've heard their concerns, and while it is important to stop and examine

Jon Tester

6:06:19 to 6:06:43( Edit History Discussion )

Jon Tester: the impact of limiting debit card swipe fees, some would say that two years are simply too long. i'm willing to adjust my legislation to address those concerns. so senator corker and i have decided to shorten the time frame from 24 months to 15 months. now, here's how the 15 months are going to be used. 15 months will provide the agencies with six months for a

Jon Tester

6:06:44 to 6:07:04( Edit History Discussion )

Jon Tester: study, and they will provide the federal government six months for rules rewriting that study, and it will allow three months to implement the final rules. 15 months is the bare minimum to get this study right, and we want to get it right. for me, stopping and studying the unintended consequences of government price fixing has everything to do with access to capital for small businesses and

Jon Tester

6:07:05 to 6:07:25( Edit History Discussion )

Jon Tester: consumers in rural america. make no mistake, the big banks are going to do fine, no matter what. so i opposed the amount. but all but two banks in my entire state are considered small community banks and will be affected by this debit

Jon Tester

6:07:26 to 6:07:47( Edit History Discussion )

Jon Tester: interchange price-fixing rule. all of montana's credit unions will be affected as well. they will feel the pinch and they will lose because the government is going to set a price for doing business that doesn't cover their costs. let me say it again. the federal government is going to tell these folks what price to set on interchange rates, and it will not be enough for the

Jon Tester

6:07:48 to 6:08:10( Edit History Discussion )

Jon Tester: little guys to be able to compete in the marketplace. let me ask this. how would a big box retailer react if we set the price of t-shirts, if we set the price of t-shirts, what it cost to make, ship and market them? you can bet the retailers would be up in arms and rightfully so about the government setting

Jon Tester

6:08:11 to 6:08:32( Edit History Discussion )

Jon Tester: prices and telling them how to run their business. some have suggested that the only way to have a competitiveness marketplace is by capping rates. that kind of reasoning doesn't make sense to a farmer like me. when you slant the playing field against small banks, they can't compete with the big guys. and if they go under, the business and consumers that rely on them are left hanging. that, madam president, is why a

Jon Tester

6:08:33 to 6:08:53( Edit History Discussion )

Jon Tester: populous farmer from rural america is on the side of commonsense in this debate and i'm on the side of montana's businesses and consumers. last thursday, i asked fed chairman ben bernanke about the impact of government price fixing as it applies to rural america. he's not only the major regulator who has raised serious questions about whether the supposed exemption will work for small banks.

Jon Tester

6:08:54 to 6:09:14( Edit History Discussion )

Jon Tester: he's not the only one. last week, chairman bernanke said -- quote -- "it could result in some smaller banks being less profitable and even failing." let me repeat that. in the words of chairman bernanke, the small banks in montana and across america could fail under this planned rule. and what does it mean if small banks fail?

Jon Tester

6:09:15 to 6:09:35( Edit History Discussion )

Jon Tester: it means more consolidation in the banking industry. how in the world is that good for consumers? how is it better for a small business in glenndive, montana, to have to ask the bank headquartered on wall street for a loan instead of going to the bank on main street? are big banks going to provide the same level of service as community banks? i think not. will they be able to evaluate

Jon Tester

6:09:36 to 6:09:56( Edit History Discussion )

Jon Tester: the prospects of small businesses by only looking at data without understanding the communities that they serve? while big banks create strong relationships with people in rural america, will they do that? how about those folks who are looking to start a small business? we know that credit unions are

Jon Tester

6:09:57 to 6:10:18( Edit History Discussion )

Jon Tester: one of the few financial institutions to ever consider going into indian country, to help bring investment to some of the most impoverished areas in this country. do you think that if these small folks go under, there will be anyone else willing to lend on reservations? no way. no way. during last week's hearing, fdic

Jon Tester

6:10:19 to 6:10:39( Edit History Discussion )

Jon Tester: chairwoman shea la baer said this new rule is -- quote -- "going to reduce revenues at a number of smaller banks and they will have to pass that on to their customers in terms of higher fees." rural america, especially in this fragile economy, cannot afford that, madam president. today i want to share a few businesses in montana that are opposed to this government price fixing. their stories are not uncommon.

Jon Tester

6:10:40 to 6:11:00( Edit History Discussion )

Jon Tester: they are quite ordinary. i heard from a woman by the name of doris rushalo. she runs doris' daycare in great falls, montana. she has been doing business for nearly 30 years with a community bank. she tells me that she is struggling to make ends meet as many small businesses are and paying more in monthly checking would hurt her very, very much. also, in great falls, there is a

Jon Tester

6:11:01 to 6:11:21( Edit History Discussion )

Jon Tester: small business owner by the name of mark royals. mark owns why not trucking. his reasons for supporting my amendment to stop and study the government limit is because, and i -- quote -- "--" he doesn't want to pay more fees of his money in his bank." cabela's, a large retailer and

Jon Tester

6:11:22 to 6:11:42( Edit History Discussion )

Jon Tester: popular sporting goods store in billings, montana. cabela's is worried about the durbin amendment because they offer a debit card. they have real concerns with government price controls and what it will mean for their ability to meet the needs of their customers. the bottom line is this, jowg the government to price fix debit card swipe fees is a slippery slope. maybe that's why my amendment is

Jon Tester

6:11:43 to 6:12:03( Edit History Discussion )

Jon Tester: to stop and study the impacts of this proposed rule. it has broad bipartisan support from folks like the national education association, americans for tax reform, different sides of the economic equation. and then there are nonprofit organizations like rural dynamics in montana. rural dynamics serves the entire state of montana. thousands of folks every year.

Jon Tester

6:12:04 to 6:12:24( Edit History Discussion )

Jon Tester: their mission, to help individual people and families achieve economic intelligence, to make sure that folks can earn and keep and grow their assets to reach economic independence. rural dynamics is a well-respected organization. many of their strategies involve helping montanans manage their assets and save for their future, enabling them access to

Jon Tester

6:12:25 to 6:12:46( Edit History Discussion )

Jon Tester: banking services, and anything that would result in undue higher fees would take their mission backwards. rural dynamics says simply we want to -- simply we want to understand how limiting debit swipe fees will impact rural america, how it will impact economic intelligence. the administration experts have been tasked with trying to make

Jon Tester

6:12:47 to 6:13:08( Edit History Discussion )

Jon Tester: this rule on debit interchange work. chairman bernanke just last week said he is still not sure whether the smallisher exemption would work, saying, and i quote -- "there are market forces that would work against this exemption." the chairwoman of the fdic raised similar concerns about the workability of the smallisher exemption.

Jon Tester

6:13:09 to 6:13:29( Edit History Discussion )

Jon Tester: so did debbie matz of the national credit union association. so has the conference of state banking supervisors. so has the national association of state credit union supervisors. this represents all, all of the regulators of the small financial institutions at the state and national level, every one of them. these are the folks tasked with

Jon Tester

6:13:30 to 6:13:52( Edit History Discussion )

Jon Tester: keeping our community banks

Jon Tester

6:13:53 to 6:14:14( Edit History Discussion )

Jon Tester: vibrant and strong and make they don't understand market forces and they don't understand small institutions. this couldn't be further from the truth. and no one has been able to explain to me why studying this issue, to make sure these issues, these rules do able what -- do what they are supposed to be do is a bad idea.

Jon Tester

6:14:15 to 6:14:36( Edit History Discussion )

Jon Tester: stop, study, that's what the bipartisan bill does. stop and study the unintended consequences for rural america and this country as a whole. if this rule goes into effect the consumers and businesses who rely on credit unions are going to pay the price. we can bet retailers aren't going to be able to save the few pennies they pass down to you.

Jon Tester

6:14:37 to 6:14:58( Edit History Discussion )

Jon Tester: banking fees will go down. mark will have to pay more to keep his money in his bank. folks will be asking what's next and will it hurt their loyal customers and thousands of montanans who rely on rural dynamics will have more hurdles to jump over to reach economic independence. madam president, these stories hit home. they are the stories i tell when someone asks why would a

Jon Tester

6:14:59 to 6:15:19( Edit History Discussion )

Jon Tester: populace farmer be against a government telling the small banks that drive our economy how to do business. i'm not asking to repeal this provision; far from it, madam president. i'm asking us to do our homework in this body, to make sure we understand exactly what it means for montana and all of america. with that, i yield the floor and i want to express my thanks to the good senator from iowa one

Jon Tester

6:15:20 to 6:15:41( Edit History Discussion )

Jon Tester: more time. madam president, i yield the floor. the presiding officer: the senator from iowa. mr. grassley: thank you, madam president. i come to the floor to speak on

Jon Tester

6:15:42 to 6:15:50( Edit History Discussion )

Jon Tester: the nomination that's now before the senate, the nomination of goodwin liu to be circuit judge

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