On May 21, 2009, Congress sent President Obama a set of new rules governing credit card companies, completing a trio of consumer-related measures that Democrats had raced to get signed into law by Memorial Day.

Final House passage of the credit card bill by a margin of 361 to 64 followed Congressional approval earlier this week of an increase in federal resources to pursue financial fraud and another measure that would make it easier for financially pressed homeowners to seek changes in their mortgages. Mr. Obama signed those bills on Wednesday and was planning to act quickly on the credit legislation.

“These are important reforms to protect consumers and to bring some common sense, rationality into our financial system,” Robert Gibbs, the White House spokesman, said Wednesday.

But the credit card victory came at a cost that angered some backers of the legislation: approval of an unrelated provision allowing visitors to national parks and wildlife refuges to carry loaded weapons if they are otherwise licensed to possess guns.

Congressional leaders and administration officials decided not to contest the gun measure propelled by Senator Tom Coburn, Republican of Oklahoma, to avoid delaying credit card legislation that the White House wanted as an important symbol of the administration’s push for economic relief for consumers.

At the same time, the Senate on Wednesday approved a measure to overhaul Pentagon contracting and the House is set to do so Thursday, setting up another bill signing on an initiative sought by Mr. Obama.

A top White House official said completion of the consumer bills would allow the Obama administration and Congress to concentrate on health care, energy and spending issues in the critical summer months.

“We have taken care of these major initiatives to leave running room to accomplish the big stuff,” said Rahm Emanuel, White House chief of staff.

Because of the influence of the financial industry, Congress had made little progress in past efforts to change the regulation of credit card companies, and the prospects remained uncertain earlier this year. But Congress was spurred into action by public outcry over such practices as sudden increases in interest rates even for those who paid their bills, hard-to-understand contract terms and hidden fees. The complaints led Democrats and Republicans to strike a crucial Senate deal on the bill.

“This cements a victory for every American consumer who has ever suffered at the hands of the credit card industry,” Senator Christopher J. Dodd, Democrat of Connecticut and the author of the Senate measure, said after the House vote.

Under the measure, which would take effect in nine months, banks and card companies would be required to give 45 days’ notice before a change in interest rates. Companies would be prohibited from raising rates on existing balances unless a card holder fell 60 days behind on minimum payments.

The bill makes it much harder to issue credit cards to students and prevents companies from charging a fee to those who exceed their credit limit unless the customer elects to pay the fee in exchange for being allowed to charge more.

The measure won support from 248 Democrats and 113 Republicans; 63 Republicans and one Democrat opposed it.

In arguing against the measure, leading Republicans warned that it could dry up credit, lead card companies to restore annual fees and cause other unintended consequences. They said Congress should give similar new rules proposed by the Federal Reserve a chance to work.

“While perhaps well intentioned, this bill will make credit less available to hard-working families, small businesses, and consumers who are already struggling,” said Representative Eric Cantor of Virginia, the No. 2 House Republican.

Other critics have suggested that the measure does not go far enough and argued for a limit on the interest rates that companies can legally charge, a proposal that lost badly in a Senate vote.

But leading consumer groups praised the measure, with Pamela Banks, senior policy counsel for Consumers Union, calling it a “win for everyone who’s ever been abused by the tricks and traps of the credit card industry.”

The addition of the gun provision caused the House to split its vote to allow Democrats who backed the credit card elements to oppose the elimination of a ban on loaded weapons in national parks and preserves. The gun amendment was approved 279 to 147, with 174 Republicans and 105 Democrats backing it; 145 Democrats and 2 Republicans opposed it.

Supporters of the legislation say it was needed to end confusion about where gun owners could carry their weapons and noted that guns are allowed on public lands overseen by the Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management. They said it would allow campers and other visitors to the parks to protect themselves better. Currently, firearms must be unloaded and secured in parks and wildlife refuges.

“The real winners in this amendment are law-abiding Americans who will not be treated as criminals even though they are good people,” Representative Rob Bishop, Republican of Utah, said.

Many Democrats expressed outrage at how the gun measure had been enacted.

“I am incredibly disappointed that this well-meaning bill has been hijacked and used as a political tool ramming a provision down the throats of Americans,” said Representative Carolyn McCarthy, Democrat of New York and a leading Congressional supporter of gun control.

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