Here's one I'm having trouble with: Representative Stephanie Herseth Sandlin casts the lone Democratic vote against the Credit Cardholders' Bill of Rights (HR 627), which passed the House 357–70yesterday. Not even a majority of House Republicans voted against this bill. SHS found herself standing with GOP standard bearers Rep. John Boehner (R-Ohio) and Rep. Eric Cantor (R.-Va.) as well as Rep. Michelle Bachmann (R-Minn.), Rep. Ron Paul (R/L-Tex.), and Rep. Jeff Flake (R.-Ariz.). (Interesting: OpenCongress.org reports that Flake is the Representative our gal Stephanie votes least like.)
Says SHS on the logic that no other Democrat in the House bought:
"In a time of economic instability and decreasing credit availability, I think it's essential that we consider the full impact of limiting access to credit," she told reporters before her vote. "People need access to credit while at the same time striking at the deceptive and unfair practices that we know have been going on, and this bill, in my opinion, doesn't strike the right balance" [Ledyard King, "House Tightens Credit Card Rules," that Sioux Falls paper, 2009.05.01].
SHS also noted that she buys the fear tactics of the South Dakota Bankers Association that such regulations will kill their industry and a whole mess of jobs in the South Dakota usury industry. But as I read the bill, things like requiring credit card companies with all their computers and mailing operations to do things like give customers a clear 45-day heads-up on interest rate changes and other contract changes fail to reach my threshold of job-killing tyranny.
I suppose I shouldn't scratch my head too much on this one. King tells us SHS did the same thing last year, and Senator Tim Johnson broke with Dems to vote against a similar measure in March. I will suggest, however, that if our economy hinges on extending credit to folks at 30%, maybe we need a new economy.
Update 07:35 CDT: For a view from outside the state, see DownWithTyranny:
...the DCCC went on the attack against Republicans, like Don Young (R-AK) who they feel will vote against the bill today. Young is a strange target since he was one of the 84 Republicans to cross the aisle and vote with the Democrats in 2008 on this [Young voted aye yesterday, too —CAH]. (Funny enough, a better target would be Blue Dog Stephanie Herseth Sandlin (SD) who crossed the aisle in the other direction and voted with the GOP. South Dakota has a huge credit card industry and I suppose the thinking goes that if they steal from the rest of us, it'll trickle down to Herseth Sandlin's constituents-- or at least to her campaign donors. (Yes, she raked in a startling $629,895 from the banksters since being elected to the House in 2004.)
Mmm, that sure helps our state's image.