Biden cuts ‘junk quotas’ in new economic focus ahead of midterms


President Joe Biden said Wednesday that his administration is cracking down on so-called junk fees, including announcing new steps that prohibit banks from issuing surprise fees on bounced checks and deposit fees.

His speech announcing the new measures also highlighted his administration’s efforts to provide more “breathing room” relief for American consumers, as the economy and inflation remain top concerns for voters 13 days before the midterm elections.

“Today, my administration is announcing new actions to lower the costs of everyday living for American families, put more money in the pockets of middle-income and working-class Americans, and hold big corporations accountable,” Biden said in White. House, citing “unfair hidden fees” such as overdraft fees, hidden hotel reservation fees and cancellation fees when consumers switch cable and Internet plans.

Biden said Wednesday that the new moves on garbage fees “will begin immediately to save Americans collectively billions of dollars in unfair fees” and directed his administration to “reduce or eliminate” other garbage fees.

Specifically, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is issuing new guidance publicly stating that deposit fee and surprise fee practices are “likely to be unfair and illegal under existing law.”

“We’ve got a lot going on with what we’re doing, and it adds up,” Biden said of his efforts to help American consumers, noting that he understands the “frustration of the American people” amid rising prices.

The economy and inflation are the top issues on voters’ minds in battleground states, according to a CNN poll released this week. And while acknowledging Americans’ frustrations about the state of the economy, Biden has frequently deployed a midterm campaign message aimed at distinguishing what he says are savings in Democrats’ policy plans from costly Republican proposals.

At the podium, Biden was well aware of the concerns, trying to give examples of how his and his party’s efforts are impacting the economy and lowering costs, highlighting trends in lower gas prices, lower hearing aid costs and new jobs. at a New York Micron facility he is visiting this week.

The White House defines garbage quotas as those “designed to confuse or deceive consumers or take advantage of lock-in or other forms of status quo power,” wrote National Economic Council officials Brian Deese, Neale Mahoney and Tim Wu. four categories: mandatory fees that often hide the full price, unexpected fees that consumers learn about after purchase, exploitative or predatory fees, and fraudulent fees. Tackling hidden fees was a key component of the President’s meeting with the White House Competition Council last month.

Economic officials also highlighted other past actions, including new rules and guidelines for bank and credit card fees, addressing junk fee practices in industries through a new rulemaking process, limiting junk fees charged by car dealers, airlines that they have to disclose the rates. front, requiring Internet companies to display a “Broadband Nutrition Label” and reduce the cost of shipping goods.

The president outlined some of these unfair changes with specific examples, including a “bank screwed up” lapse fee, a bounced check fee for someone trying to sell a bike online, fees added to bills when paying bills, and processing fees. for concerts

“These garbage fees — they’re unfair and they hit marginalized Americans the hardest, especially low-income people and people of color. They benefit big corporations, not consumers, not working families. And that changes now,” Biden said. that he will announce more “concrete actions” in the future.