Battling the Banks: Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Bernie Sanders Join Forces to Cap Interest Rates on Credit Cards

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Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, aka the Notorious AOC, and Democratic presidential hopeful Sen. Bernie Sanders are joining forces to take on America’s credit card problem, introducing legislation in the House and Senate to limit interest rates to 15%.

“There is no reason a person should pay more than 15% interest in the United States,” Ocasio-Cortez wrote on Twitter Thursday. “It’s a debt trap for working people + it has to end.”

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Americans are more than $1 trillion in the hole when it comes to credit card debt, Bloomberg reports. The proposed interest rate limit would also apply to payday loans.

Ocasio-Cortez and Sanders cited data showing the national average rate on credit cards is 17.73 percent, even for those with good credit, the Washington Post reports. The average for folks with bad credit is 24.99 percent.

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In addition to controlling credit card interest rates, the lawmakers’ proposal would allow U.S. post offices to offer basic banking services, like checking or saving accounts, an assist to the millions of people who lack bank accounts and often have to rely on costly check cashing shops or other third-party servicers.

Now, while Ocasio-Cortez’s bill may have at least a chance of passage in the Democratic-controlled House, political observers say there’s almost no way Sanders’ version will pass muster in the GOP-controlled Senate.

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The banking industry made $113 billion in interest in fees from credit cards last year, according to the Post, and lobbyists have already come out against AOC’s and Sanders’ idea.

“This specific proposal will only harm consumers by restricting access to credit for those who need it the most and driving them toward less regulated, more costly alternatives,” Jeff Sigmund, a spokesman for the American Bankers Association, said in a statement.

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“I am sure it will be criticized,” Sanders said of the proposal. “I have a radical idea: Maybe Congress should stand up for ordinary people.”

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