Congressman Albio Sires Newsletter




As always it is a pleasure to update you on my work in Congress. The House of Representatives recently passed two pieces of legislation that will go a long way to protect consumers, the Credit Card Holders’ Bill of Rights and the Mortgage Reform and Anti-Predatory Lending Act of 2009. Additionally, this past week marked the end of Community College Awareness Month. Please read below to learn more about these important issues.

Credit Card Holders’ Bill of Rights

On April 30, 2009 I joined my colleagues in the House of Representatives in passing H.R. 627, the Credit Card Holders’ Bill of Rights, by a vote of 357 to 70 in order to provide critical protections against unfair, yet common, credit card practices. This bill would provide necessary relief to the nearly half of American families that are suffering from credit card debt.

Specifically, H.R. 627 would even the playing field between card issuers and cardholders by applying sensible regulations that will ban retroactive interest rate hikes on existing balances, double-cycle billing, and due-date gimmicks. It would also increase the advance notice of future rate hikes, providing cardholders with the necessary information and the right to make decisions regarding their own finances. Furthermore, this bill would outlaw credit cards to minors under age 18, prohibit credit card companies from imposing fees when customers pay their bill, and allow customers to set a lower credit card limit.

Predatory Lending

Congress passed HR 1728, the Mortgage Reform and Anti-Predatory Lending Act of 2009 on Thursday, May 7, 2009. This bill would end the predatory lending practices that drove the housing market, and the broader economy, downward.

This bill would establish a simple standard for all home loans: institutions must ensure that borrowers can repay the loans they are sold. Additionally, it would prohibit steering homebuyers into higher cost loans when unnecessary and require transparency if the lender receives compensation when the loan is made. It would also require that all loans provide a real benefit to the consumer when refinancing their mortgage and protect renters so that they receive proper notification and are given time to relocate before the home they rent is foreclosed. Lastly, for the first time ever, it would make the secondary mortgage market responsible for complying with these standards when they buy loans and turn them into securities.

Community College Awareness Month

April is Community College Awareness Month. Every year, Congress recognizes the important and unique role that community colleges play in America’s educational system by passing a resolution in honor of Community College Month. Nearly 11 million students attend a community college across our nation, and more than 150,000 students attend one of the schools in New Jersey. Community colleges play a vital role for our communities and the students who attend these fine institutions. I am proud to show my support of the community colleges back home.

Thank you for taking the time to read my e-newsletter. I look forward to continuing to update you on my work in the House of Representatives.


Albio Sires

Albio Sires