WASHINGTON — The House Judiciary Committee yesterday introduced legislation that calls for merchants, credit card companies and banks to negotiate transaction fees that would be set for three years at a time, according to Food Marketing Institute, which has been pushing for Congress to take action on the fees. Retailers have long complained that the transaction fees, which are added by Visa and MasterCard to each credit and debit card transaction, have been increasing rapidly in recent years for no apparent reason. “All we want is the ability to negotiate a fair price, just like we do with our other suppliers, and that’s something we’ve not been able to do with Visa and MasterCard,” Steve Smith, chairman of FMI and chief executive officer of K-VA-T Food Stores, Abingdon, Va., told SN yesterday. The proposal (H.R. 5546), which was introduced by a bipartisan team led by House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers, D-Mich., and Rep. Chris Cannon, R-Utah, is modeled after a system used in the music industry to determine compensation for the performance of copyrighted songs, according to FMI. The introduction of this legislation follows three congressional hearings on the issue.
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