ST. LOUIS – Senator Josh Hawley is going after credit card companies with new legislation aimed at the high interest rates they charge cardholders.

“Eighteen percent ought to be the cap. My bill would cap it across the board, all credit cards,” Hawley said. “Cap fees as well, so the credit card companies can’t come through the backdoor and charge you more. This is basic fairness for working people in this country.”

The senator said his Capping Credit Card Interest Rates Act has already drawn the ire of credit card companies.

“They hate it, of course. They predict the sky will fall. All I would say to all of that is 18% is a heck of a lot of profit,” he said. “I mean, just a few months ago, the average interest rate was below 18%. And now it’s up near 30%. So the idea they need to make 20, 30, 40% profit in order to be viable is just ridiculous.”

Leslie Tayne, whose firm, the Tayne Law Group in New York, works in the field of consumer and business debt resolution, said she’s seen firsthand how crippling credit card debt can be.

“Every day, I have new clients calling, complaining about how challenging it is to meet their obligations with their credit cards,” she said. “Interest rates are higher than ever, and it’s making it more difficult for families to meet their day-to-day expenses.”

Tayne thinks Hawley’s legislation will help America’s credit card debt disaster. In the meantime, she encourages consumers to help themselves.

“The first step in developing a plan is understanding who you owe the money and how much. Then, a very important step is to look at your budget. The budget includes what your income is and your outgoing expenses,” she said. “Once you understand what the bottom line is there, how much is available, then you can make the determination of how much of your budget can go towards paying down your credit card debt.”

Hawley hopes to find bipartisan support for the bill.

“Back in the 90s, the Senate actually voted. I think 74 senators voted to put a cap on credit card interest rates. Back then, I think it was 14%,” he said. “So, there’s a lot of precedent for this and I would just say this shouldn’t be partisan. This ought to be about helping working people.”