House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers reintroduced legislation Thursday designed to give merchants more control over interchange fees.

The bill would remove antitrust hurdles to let merchants enter collective bargaining agreements with banks when setting interchange rates. It would exempt credit unions with assets of less than $1 billion. The bill is similar to one that passed Judiciary on a vote of 19 to 16 in July 2008 but stalled in the full House.

Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., is expected to introduce a similar companion bill soon.

Another bill, introduced last month by Rep. Peter Welch, D-Vt., would let merchants set minimum and maximum amounts for credit card purchases, offer discounts for particular forms of payments and let merchants steer patrons to the least-costly purchase methods.

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