May 10 (UPI) — Sen. Bernie Sanders and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez teamed up Thursday to unveil legislation seeking to cap credit card interest rates at 15 percent, calling high rates a “debt trap.”
During an announcement streamed on Twitter, Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., accused banks of acting as “modern-day loan sharks.” Sanders, I-Vt., called on Congress to “stand up for ordinary people.”
“There is no reason a person should pay more than 15 percent interest in the United States,” she tweeted. “It’s a debt trap for working people + it has to end.”
The average annual percent rate was 17.73 percent in April, a record high, CreditCards.com reported. The average maximum rate was 24.99 percent and the median was 21.36 percent.
“Let’s be clear what we’re talking about: We’re talking about economic brutality,” said Sanders, a Democratic presidential candidate. “We are talking about some of the most powerful people in the world, people who make millions and millions of dollars a year, and banks that make billions of dollars a year in profit.
“And they see a real profit center in going after desperate people … who cannot afford the basic necessities of life.”
Under the proposal, the federal government would impose a 15 percent cap, while states would be free to impose their own lower limits. The U.S. Postal Service also would be permitted to start offering savings and checking accounts to customers.