The Consumer Rental Purchase Agreement Act (S884) came closer than ever to passage
last Thursday when it was attached, however briefly, to the Appropriations Bill in conference
Jeff Lebakken (who's
who), owner of Lebakkens Rent to Own in Wisconsin, along
with Kris Korst (Rent A Center General Counsel), and lobbyist Ron Waters, were
in Washington, DC rallying House and Senate members in one last attempt at
passage this session. "[S884] actually made it into the Appropriations bill in
conference committee Thursday night," said Lebakken. It was later removed because it
had never been "Marked Up" (the process where a committee hears
testimony and makes changes/amendments) in the Senate."
Unlike previous sessions however,
controversy surrounding the S884 played no part in the conference committee's
decision. Lebakken explained that, As a policy bill, S884 wasn't even supposed
to be included in Appropriations. "Broad support from both sides of the isle got
the Act on the conference committee agenda."
But in the end, it was decided that, since S884 had never been marked-up in the
Senate, it would not be appropriate to include. The Senate Banking Committee
held a brief hearing on the Act in June (audio), but a markup
session was never scheduled.
Although, barring a last minute miracle, supporters
will have to start from scratch in 2005, Lebakken is confident in passage. "This
is farther than we have ever been," he said. "It was very exciting, everyone was
upbeat about the bill and people were behind us. We just need to get farther in
This session marks the seventh time Rental Purchase legislation has been
introduced in Congress since 1985. The 1985 version (HR2730) gained 16
co-sponsors in the House and was never introduced in the Senate. During this
session, S884 had 95 co-sponsors in the House, 27 co-sponsors in the Senate and,
for the first time, had a
hearing before the Senate Banking Committee.
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