WASHINGTON (CNNMoney.com) - As credit card companies continue raising rates and fees, lawmakers are considering bills to stop such hikes until new credit card laws take effect.
In the House, a key committee passed a bill to move up by nearly three months the start date of new laws aimed at cracking down on the way credit card issuers raise fees and assess credit risk. The new start date would be Dec. 1, up from Feb. 22.
"It was argued. . . that they needed more time, and we granted them more time, but it was under the understanding that abusive practices would not continue, and double and increase dramatically," said Rep. Carolyn Maloney, D-N.Y., a bill sponsor, debating amendments to it.
The House Financial Services committee passed it on a voice vote.
In the Senate, Sen. Chris Dodd, D-Conn., Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., and others have introduced a bill to freeze credit card interest rates until the new legislation takes effect Feb. 22.
"We worked long and hard to enact the safeguards included in the Credit CARD Act," Dodd said. "And no sooner had it been signed into law, but credit card companies were looking for ways to get around the protections this Congress and the American people demanded."
Congressional watchers say that the odds are against passage for either bill, especially since the two are not identical.
(CNN) - Two-term Texas Gov. Rick Perry has already gotten a re-election nod from Sarah Palin, last year's GOP vice presidential nominee. Now primary rival Kay Bailey Hutchison is snagging the endorsement of the man Palin was running to replace.
The Hutchison campaign confirmed Wednesday that former Vice President Dick Cheney - whose low approval ratings might mark him a political liability in most other parts of the country - is endorsing Hutchison's bid, and will raise money for her in Houston on Nov. 17.
Hutchison, who has said she plans to resign her Senate seat but hasn't yet revealed when that might occur, is planning to challenge Perry in next year's Republican primary.
The fourth annual 'Longest Yard' flag-football game raised more than $75,000 for the Capitol Police Foundation and the Washington Literary Council, but former Washington Redskins quarterback turned Democratic Rep. Heath Shuler of North Carolina, said the high spirited game might help to bridge the differences between the Democrats and Republicans in Congress.
"It's putting some comraderie back in … the U.S. House," Shuler told CNN. "I know if we can work together on the football field we can certainly work together when it comes to our policies."
Republican Reps. Duncan Hunter of California, Paul Ryan of Wisconsin and Jeff Flake of Arizona as well as Democratic Re. Jesse Jackson, Jr. of Illinois joined Shuler on the bipartisan congressional roster. GOP Rep. Bill Shuster coached the squad.
Several former NFL players were on and off the field including, Washington Redskin Ken Harvey, former Philadelphia Eagle John Booty, and former Detroit Lion Ed Lee.
Harvey said it was a unique experience to watch the members of Congress come together as a team.
"One day when we were at practice and I was looking around and these guys that you know are bitter enemies and fighting with each other and they're here joking together laughing and just really coming together for a common cause," Harvey said. "I think that's pretty awesome."
WASHINGTON (CNN) - More than seven in 10 Americans think Sarah Palin is not qualified to be president, according to a new national poll.
Seventy-one percent of those questioned in a CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey released Wednesday morning believe the former Alaska governor and 2008 GOP vice presidential nominee is not qualified to be president, with 29 percent saying she does have the credentials to serve in the White House. Republicans appear split, with 52 percent saying she's qualified and 47 percent disagreeing with that view.
The poll indicates that about half of the country, 51 percent, has an unfavorable view of Palin, with 42 percent seeing her in a positive light. Nearly two-thirds of those questioned say Palin's not a typical politician, and feel she's a good role model for women. Fifty-six percent add that Palin cares about people, and a similar amount think she's honest and trustworthy. But the survey indicates Americans are split over whether Palin shares their values, agrees with them on the issues, or if she's a strong leader.
"Sarah Palin has one advantage that many past Republican candidates have not shared - Americans think she cares about people like them," says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. "But her biggest Achilles heel is the number who think she is not qualified to be President. Those numbers are similar to what Dan Quayle got in 1993, when only 23 percent thought he was ready for the White House."
Follow Paul Steinhauser on Twitter @steinhauserp
Islamabad, Pakistan (CNN) - Just a few hours after Secretary of State Hillary Clinton arrived in Islamabad, a massive car bomb exploded in a crowded market frequented by women in the northwest city of Peshawar, a two-hour drive away.
The city lies near Pakistan's tribal areas where al Qaeda and other extremist groups are believed to be hiding.
Condemning what she called "vicious attacks," Clinton called those who carry them out "cowards."
"They are not courageous, they are cowardly," she told reporters, speaking slowly and deliberately. "If the people behind these attacks were so sure of their beliefs, let them join the political process. Let them come forth to the people of Pakistan in this democracy and make their case that they don't want girls to go to school. That they want women to be kept back."
WASHINGTON (CNN) - President Barack Obama on Wednesday signed a law that makes it a federal crime to assault an individual because of his or her sexual orientation or gender identity.
The expanded federal hate crimes law was added to a $680 billion defense authorization bill that Obama signed at a packed White House ceremony.
The hate crimes measure was named for Matthew Shepard, a gay Wyoming teenager who died after being kidnapped and severely beaten in October 1998, and James Byrd Jr., an African-American man dragged to death in Texas the same year.
Shepard's mother, Judy, was among those at the ceremony that also included Vice President Joe Biden, Defense Secretary Robert Gates, Attorney General Eric Holder and leading members of Congress and the Pentagon, who were on hand for the appropriations bill signing.
To loud applause, Obama hailed the hate crimes measure in the bill as a step toward change to "help protect our citizens from violence based on what they look like, who they love, how they pray."
He cited the work of the late Sen. Edward Kennedy of Massachusetts and others "to make this day possible."
WASHINGTON (CNN) - House Democratic leaders are preparing to unveil as soon as Thursday a health care bill that includes a more moderate version of the public option, several Democratic leadership aides tell CNN.
This version would allow doctors to negotiate reimbursement rates with the federal government, the aides said Wednesday.
The proposal would be a blow to Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who has argued for a more "robust" public option, one that ties reimbursement rates for providers and hospitals to Medicare rates plus a 5 percent increase.
But Pelosi and other Democratic leaders, after a week of canvassing rank and file Democrats, appear to be bowing to the reality that her preferred approach does not have enough votes. Instead, the more moderate version, favored by rural and moderate members, appears to have the most support among House Democrats.
President Obama was joined Wednesday by Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid at a ceremony honoring former Sen. Edward Brooke. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)
Washington (CNN) - Edward Brooke, the first African-American elected to the U.S. Senate by popular vote, was honored Wednesday with a Congressional Gold Medal.
"At a time when so many doors were closed to African-Americans, others might have become angry or disillusioned," President Obama told an audience in the Capitol Rotunda, where the ceremony honoring Brooke for Congress' greatest honor was held.
"They might have concluded that no matter how hard they worked, their horizons would always be limited. So why bother? Not Ed Brooke," he said.
Brooke, 90, was a Republican senator from Massachusetts for two full terms, from 1967 to 1979.
"He ran for office, as he put it, to bring people together who had never been together before, and that he did," the president said.