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Foes of debit-card fee limits haven't given up the fight

Durbin said in a statement that the Visa fee announcement shows that smaller banks will not be hurt by the cap, which is aimed at helping general consumers save hundreds of dollars a year in hidden fees.

"As the Federal Reserve moves toward final implementation of this amendment, it's time to move past the misrepresentations and scare tactics and to recognize the strong pro-consumer and pro-competitive benefits of interchange reform," Durbin said.

ABA task force on lobbying

A bipartisan task force says Washington lobbyists should be subject to more reporting requirements and restrictions, including limits on raising money for lawmakers that they lobby.

The recommendations are part of a report issued this week by an American Bar Association task force that was formed after President Obama's push to restrict lobbyists' access to the federal government.

The task force, whose members range from veteran lobbyist Nicholas W. Allard of Patton Boggs to public-interest advocate Meredith McGehee of the Campaign Legal Center, proposes broader disclosure and registration requirements, which would include dropping the exemption for those who spend less than 20 percent of their time on lobbying.

Current laws "do not adequately require disclosure of lobbying activity," especially when they employ outside firms for some of the work, the report concludes.

The task force also calls for decoupling two of Washington's key activities - lobbying and fundraising - by barring lobbyists from making or soliciting contributions to lawmakers for two years after interacting with them.

The report says its proposals are intended to increase the transparency and ethical standards of the lobbying profession, which is "indispensable to the functioning of government."

"The proposals the Task Force offers are intended to restore the honor and enhance the efficacy of those in our profession who advocate for clients in the forum of public policy," wrote Charles Fried, a Harvard Law School professor who co-chaired the group.

Staff writer Ylan Q. Mui contributed to this report.

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