Bennet, Udall back guns-in-parks rider to credit card reform bill

A poison pill amendment to simultaneously weaken a consumer-friendly credit card reform bill and reverse a hold on a controversial Bush Administration rule to allow concealed guns in national parks won U.S. Senate approval late Tuesday.

Colorado Democratic Sens. Michael Bennet and Mark Udall backed the measure introduced today by ultra-conservative Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., following a weekend compromise by Senate Banking Committee members that further watered down some consumer protections but still not to the liking of the lobbyist-heavy financial industry.

The 67-29 bi-partisan vote, with one Republican defection with the “no” votes, adds a possible legislative override to the court-blocked Bush Administration 11th-hour rule to permit loaded, concealed firearms in national parks, historical centers and wildlife refuges.

The gun rule is currently stymied by a temporary injunction issued by U.S. District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly in response to a complaint filed by the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence and National Parks Conservation Association. The Obama Administration decided last month that it would not defend the rule in court after the judge called the government’s process for implementing the gun regulation “astoundingly flawed.”

Poison pill amendments are not unusual in Congress but the attempt to sink a hugely popular law to beef up consumer protections against the predatory credit card industry is curious, at best.

More puzzling is Udall’s vote to support the Coburn Amendment — especially, as a leading proponent of the reform bill who earlier today released the text of a floor speech urging his Senate colleagues to support the Credit Card Accountability, Responsibility and Disclosure (CARD) Act.

Neither Udall or Bennet’s offices could be reached for comment.

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Wendy Norris

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