President Obama will step up his push for credit-card legislation with a town-hall meeting in New Mexico on Thursday.

On Saturday, he devoted much of his weekly radio address to the topic.

“You shouldn’t have to fear that any new credit card is going to come with strings attached, nor should you need a magnifying glass and a reference book to read a credit-card application,” he said. “And the abuses in our credit-card industry have only multiplied in the midst of this recession, when Americans can least afford to bear an extra burden.”

With more consumers raising allegations of credit-card abuse, the Senate is set to vote on new legislation this week. Obama wants a bill he can sign by Memorial Day, May 25.

Credit-card companies have lobbied hard against further changes, arguing that tougher rules could force lenders to cut off some cardholders entirely.

“We’re in a difficult lending environment,” Kenneth Clayton, senior vice president of card policy at the American Bankers Association, was quoted as saying in the Wall Street Journal. “As you start adding regulatory or legislative requirements on the business of lending, it does make it more challenging.”

The Federal reserve in December approved new regulations that would ban retroactive interest-rate increases for existing balances, force clearer disclosures and require advance notice for changes to card terms. Those regulations would take effect in July 2010.

The House recently passed a bill that would codify those changes into law. Senate debate could begin as early as today.

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