The Treasury eventually waived the $7.50 card replacement fee, lifted the limit on how much of the balance the user could transfer to a bank account, and improved communications. Some fees, including for the use of “out of network” ATMs, remained.
If the debit cards are used for the new round of payments, Axne and other committee members are seeking a complete elimination of the fees associated with using the card or transferring its balance.
The lawmakers also called for better public communication of plans to use the debit cards and how to use it. “We hope better communication will reduce confusion and prevent people cutting up their debit cards again because they believed this was a scam,” the letter states.
In addition, the lawmakers are seeking to simplify the cardholder agreement that recipients were required to sign and eliminate any arbitration clause, used last time to prevent card recipients from forming a class action suit in case of problems with the card.
Signers of the letter also included: U.S. Reps. Sean Casten, D-Ill.; Cindy Axne, D-Iowa; Bill Foster, D-Ill., Vicente Gonzalez, D-Texas; Denny Heck, D-Wash., William Lacy Clay, D-Mo.; Al Lawson, D-Fla.; Stephen Lynch, D-Mass; Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich., and Jennifer Wexton, D-Va.
The U.S. House voted this week to expand the direct payments to up to $2,000 per individual, but the Republican-controlled Senate has not yet agreed to bring it up. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., on Tuesday blocked a Democratic move for an immediate vote on the larger stimulus payment.
On the Senate floor Tuesday, McConnell noted Trump’s calls not only for the larger checks but also for action on two other matters: a repeal of liability protections for social-media companies, and an investigation into the integrity of the November election.
“Those are the three important subjects the president has linked together,” he said. “This week, the Senate will begin a process to bring these three priorities into focus.”
Kathie Obradovich is the editor of the Iowa Capital-Dispatch, a sibling site of the Pennsylvania Capital-Star, where this story first appeared. Capital-Star Washington Reporter Laura Olson contributed to this story.