WASHINGTON -- A top Senate Democrat moved Monday to impose an immediate freeze on credit-card interest rates, as congressional Democrats continued pushing to rein in financial-sector practices.
Sen. Christopher Dodd of Connecticut, who heads the Senate Banking Committee, introduced a measure that would freeze rates on existing card balances until February, when tough new rules for the industry are slated to go into effect.
Mr. Dodd said he was making the move because companies are using the delayed implementation of the new standards, passed by Congress in May, to push through aggressive rate and fee increases. "No sooner had it been signed into law, but credit card companies were looking for ways to get around the protections," Mr. Dodd said in a written statement.
The measure is part of a populist push by Mr. Dodd, a fifth-term senator facing a tough re-election battle against former Republican U.S. Rep. Rob Simmons next year. Mr. Dodd's ties to the financial-services industry and his receipt of a home loan from former Countrywide Financial Corp. have hurt his standing with voters. He was cleared of violating Senate ethics rules in the mortgage issue.