Tom Perriello | Fifth District Report

Last week, the House passed the Credit Cardholders’ Bill of Rights Act of 2009, which would create new protections for consumers facing excessive credit card fees, sky-high interest rates, and unfair, incomprehensible credit card company agreements. I voted in favor of the bill. In addition, the House passed with wide bipartisan support an amendment I wrote that would require credit card companies to have a 6-month minimum period for promotional rates, or “teaser” rates, which primarily target college students.

The vast bipartisan support for this bill was a victory against the tricks, traps and usurious greed in the credit card industry. This bill would enact common-sense regulations, like banning retroactive interest rate hikes on existing balances (except when payments are more than 30 days late), double-cycle billing, and due-date gimmicks. Specifically, the bill protects cardholders against arbitrary interest rate increases, and empowers them to set limits on their credit and requires card companies to fairly credit and allocate payments. It also requires card companies to give cardholders 45 days notice of any interest rate increases.

The legislation is supported by the National Federation of Independent Business and the National Small Business Association because small business owners, as credit card consumers, often experience unfair practices by the industry. I look forward to swift Senate action on the bill so America’s working families can enjoy new protections against the unfair practices of the credit card industry.

 

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While there is no cause for alarm in our area with respect to the H1N1 flu, or swine flu, you may have questions about the virus and how it is spread. Here are some helpful FAQs from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:

What are the symptoms of swine flu in humans?

The symptoms of swine flu in people are expected to be similar to the symptoms of regular human seasonal influenza and include fever, lethargy, lack of appetite and coughing. Some people with swine flu also have reported runny nose, sore throat, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea.

Can people catch swine flu from eating pork?

No. Swine influenza viruses are not transmitted by food. You can not get swine influenza from eating pork or pork products. Eating properly handled and cooked pork and pork products is safe. Cooking pork to an internal temperature of 160°F kills the swine flu virus as it does other bacteria and viruses.

How does swine flu spread?

Influenza viruses can be directly transmitted from pigs to people and from people to pigs. Human infection with flu viruses from pigs are most likely to occur when people are in close proximity to infected pigs, such as in pig barns and livestock exhibits housing pigs at fairs. Human-to-human transmission of swine flu can also occur. This is thought to occur in the same way as seasonal flu occurs in people, which is mainly person-to-person transmission through coughing or sneezing of people infected with the influenza virus. People may become infected by touching something with flu viruses on it and then touching their mouth or nose.

As with any infectious disease, CDC recommends that people take everyday preventive actions. They are: to avoid close contact with people who are sick; stay home if you are sick; cover your mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing; and wash your hands frequently. For more information, visit http://www.cdc.gov/h1n1flu/ or call 800-CDC-INFO (800-232-4636).

Please feel free to contact me to share your concerns and ideas. You may call 1-888-4-TOM4US (1-888-486-6487); write to 1520 Longworth House Office Building, Washington, DC 20515; or visit www.perriello.house.gov to sign up for my weekly e-newsletter.

 

– Tom Perriello represents the Fifth District in the United States House of Representatives.


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