Published: Tue, May 14, 2019
Worldwide | By Isabel Fisher

Ocasio-Cortez, Bernie Sanders promote cap on credit card interest rates

Ocasio-Cortez, Bernie Sanders promote cap on credit card interest rates

"I have a radical idea: Maybe Congress should stand up for ordinary people", Sanders said in an interview with the Washington Post ahead of the formal announcement. Data from the website shows that average credit card April rates have significantly increased over the last decade.

The two self-identified democratic-socialists are set to propose legislation on Thursday capping rates on credit card and other consumer loans and letting post offices offer low-priced basic financial services, such as loans and checking and savings accounts.

Though the bill has little chance of passing with Republicans in control of Senate and White House, Ocasio-Cortez was hopeful that this legislation would continue to move the political discussion toward positive change in the future.

Ocasio-Cortez later quoted author James Baldwin, who once said that "it's expensive to be poor", prompting her to elaborate that "if you're poor, your interest rates are much higher, you live in a food desert - so your average head of lettuce and average bit of spinach is much more expensive than it is in other communities".

During the 2016 election, Sanders incorporated postal banking as a minor policy point in his presidential campaign. "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".

The average annual percent rate was 17.73 percent in April, a record high, CreditCards.com reported.


"This, to me, is not just an economic issue".

Adding that the U.S. credit card interest rates had become a debt trap for the working people, Representative Ocasio-Cortez tweeted, "There is no reason a person should pay more than 15% interest in the United States".

Ocasio-Cortez said tightening the interest rate rules was a moral issue. "Every major religion on earth has condemned usury". "Because it is really disgusting".

The proposal also would let more than 30,000 post offices provide banking services for low-income Americans who now don't have ready access to banks. Both lawmakers noted that poorer individuals have less access to banking services, touching upon institutional barriers, like minimum account balances, that pose difficulties for low-income individuals. And, yes, I think that the postal service, in fact, can play an important role in providing modest types of banking service to folks who need it.

"I haven't endorsed anybody, but I'm very supportive of Bernie", Ocasio-Cortez said.

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