Consumer groups and others opposed to mandatory, predispute arbitration clauses are gearing up for what is likely to be a hard-fought effort in Congress to ban those clauses in consumer, employment and franchise agreements.

Sen. Russ Feingold, D-Wis., and Rep. Hank Johnson, D-Ga., recently introduced identical bills in the Senate and House that would amend the Federal Arbitration Act to establish that agreements to arbitrate employment, consumer or franchise disputes are not enforceable if they are entered into before an actual dispute arises.

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