Vice President Joe Biden called out Bank of America for imposing a new fee this month on customers with debit cards.
In an interview this morning with NBC News’ David Gregory, Biden said “at a minimum, they are incredibly tone deaf.”
The banking giant has blamed the new fee — a $5 monthly charge on customers who use debit cards — on Congress. A component inserted by Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) into last year’s Dodd-Frank financial reform law set a limit on fees that banks can charge retailers when customers pay with their cards.
The interview, like others conducted at this week’s Washington Ideas Forum, covered a number of areas. When Gregory pivoted to the economy, Biden blamed the slow pace of action in Congress on a fractured GOP.
“My view is that their party is not the Republican Party that we all know,” he said. “We need a Republican Party that’s united.”
Biden defended President Obama’s cross-country tour to promote his jobs package, arguing that it’s smarter strategy to directly engage the public than try to negotiate with a half-receptive Congress.
However, in a line that could come back to haunt the administration, Biden said he does not think that failure to pass the bill will bring the country back into recession.
Biden later blamed conservative rank-and-file Republicans for the debt limit standoff that caused a downgrade of the nation’s credit rating earlier this summer. The outspoken VP expressed confidence that if it were simply up to the White House and the top two Republicans in the House, Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.), a grand bargain on deficit reduction would have been struck.
“I think [President Obama] does have a partner in the bulk of the [Republican] leadership,” Biden said. “But they are seriously hamstrung.”