Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., revealed their plans for legislation that would target the credit card and banking industries by capping interest rates at 15 percent. In a joint announcement that streamed live on Twitter and Facebook, they claimed existing practices target people in financial straits.
“We’re talking about economic brutality,” Sanders said. “They see a real profit center in going after desperate people … who cannot afford the basic necessities of life.”
Ocasio-Cortez echoed this sentiment. "To charge 30, 40 percent interest rates is no less than extortion,” she said, pointing to usury laws that prohibited excessive rates until 1978.
“This is not about tinkering at the edges to change -- to make substantive improvements to people’s lives,” Ocasio-Cortez said in separate comments to Fox News. “We need to go back and really look at the core issues. And a 15 percent cap on interest rates ... it's one of those things that sounds radical today but we had these laws in half of the states in America up until the 1970s.”
Another issue they addressed was the availability of banks in rural or urban, low-income areas.
“You would think that in a densely populated community like the Bronx, you’d have a bank on every corner,” Ocasio-Cortez said, but stated that this currently is not the case. “Just the ability to go somewhere and cash a check can be very difficult.”
Sanders said the solution for this would be universal banking through the postal system.
Ocasio-Cortez teased the announcement in a tweet Wednesday night, where she said her new plan was "radical, which I always love."
When Fox News asked Ocasio-Cortez if she believes her bill would make it to the House floor, she said, "We'll see."
Fox News' Caroline McKee contributed to this report.