Complaining that many consumers can't pay off their credit card debts, Rep. Joseph P. Kennedy 2d, D-Mass., said he would introduce legislation to prohibit "predatory practices" by issuers.

Speaking Tuesday to a forum on credit card debt at the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, Rep. Kennedy accused the industry of luring consumers into debt with "reckless and voracious actions."

"As this onslaught continues, consumers must act as their own best defense," he said. "However, reasonable reforms can also help American families hold back the tide of red ink."

Rep. Kennedy said his "Consumer Credit Relief Act" would:

*Prohibit punitive interest rates levied solely because a consumer's balance increases.

*Forbid card companies to charge fees to customers who pay off balances every month.

*Allow a customer to cancel a card and pay off the balance at prior rates when issuers raise fees or interest charges.

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