Sept. 12 (UPI) -- U.S. Sen. Josh Hawley on Tuesday introduced a bill to cap credit card annual percentage rates at 18% and prevent credit card companies from imposing new fees to evade the cap.
The Republican Missouri lawmaker said in a statement that the interest rates would be brought to "common sense levels" and bring relief to people throughout the United States.
"Americans are being crushed under the weight of record credit card debt -- and the biggest banks are just getting richer," Hawley said in the statement.
"The government was quick to bail out the banks just this spring but has ignored working people struggling to get ahead. Capping the maximum credit card interest rate is fair, common sense, and gives the working class a chance."
In March, California's Silicon Valley Bank -- a tech startup lender -- became the first major bank to fail in more than two years by being forced to close its doors by state regulators. Silvergate Bank, a California-based crypto bank, said it would "wind down operations" and begin voluntary liquidation.
Then, regulators shut down New York's Signature Bank with President Joe Biden attempting to assuage fears over the stability of the financial system by vowing to continue efforts to strengthen oversight and regulation.
U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said at the time that Silicon Valley Bank's collapse would not warrant a government bailout. However, the Federal Reserve announced it would provide special loans to banks for up to a year to help mitigate the fallout from the bank failures.
Just days later, it was announced that First Republic Bank -- which took a beating after the closure of Silicon Valley Bank and Signature Bank -- would be saved in a $30 billion deal with 11 of the largest banks in the United States.
Hawley said that the cumulative credit card debt in the United States recently surpassed $1 trillion, the highest level in history, as interest rates break 30% APR.
"This means working people face higher financial burdens at the same exact time the biggest banks are booking bumper profits and wielding immense power over the market," Hawley said.