Harris: People are Hurting. Suspend Credit Card Interest, Fees, and Penalties

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Photo provided by Kamala Harris Facebook Page

People across the country are in pain right now. Parents are trying to figure out how to put food on the table after losing their jobs. People who lost their health care after being laid off are worrying about how to pay medical bills. Families are forced to make impossible decisions in order to keep a roof over their heads. And small businesses are struggling to make payroll.

Bills don’t stop coming during a pandemic — people need help right now.

No one should be profiting off of this mass pain and hardship. While the CARES Act was a step, much more needs to be done to support people who are struggling. I’ve already called for consumer protections like a stop on negative credit reporting, foreclosures, evictions, seized wages, and car repossession, and we also need an emergency rent relief program for people who have lost their jobs or can’t make rent on the 1st of the month. But we need to do more.

Today, I’m calling for the suspension of credit card interest, fees, and penalties until at least four months after this crisis is over. In the midst of this crisis, no one should be profiting from these hardships. There must be moral and corporate responsibility to support consumers and prevent an economic catastrophe in the lives of American families.

In the wake of the 2008 financial crash, corporations that made bad financial decisions were kept alive with virtually interest free loans paid for by U.S. taxpayers, because a total collapse of the financial sector would prolong the pain felt by working people. Today, it’s American families who are bearing the brunt of an historic economic collapse fueled by a pandemic, and it’s working people that need help. Suspending interest, fees, and penalties for cardholders isn’t just the right thing to do, it will limit the economic pain of the next few months and help families recover faster on the other side of this crisis. That is good for working people and good for the economy as a whole.

The status quo is not an option. The world is experiencing a public health crisis that is causing an historic economic crisis. Nearly 10 million people in the U.S. have filed for unemployment in the last two weeks, with many more expected over the coming months. That’s already more than the 8.7 million people who lost their jobs over the entirety of the 2008 financial crisis. When paychecks stop coming, people still need to feed their families, clothe their children, and keep a roof over their heads. Families are still waiting on their relief checks from the federal government, which in some cases might take months. All of this requires so many to rely on credit cards as the only option to meet their essential needs. For the people already using credit cards to pay the bills, this crisis could make things even worse.

I’ve fought for consumers all my life. As District Attorney of San Francisco, I created an Environmental Justice Unit to hold companies accountable for air pollution and chemical dumping, started an Elder Abuse Unit that helped victims of fraud, joined other district attorneys to secure $50 million for victims of a mortgage company that used high-pressure tactics, and prosecuted a case against a doctor who was administering fake medical exams to immigrants without a medical license. During my time as Attorney General of California, I took on the big banks that were committing credit-debt collection abuses resulting in $50 million in restitutions nationwide, investigated scammers who led Ponzi schemes, took on the foreclosure crisis by securing $20 billion for California homeowners, and won a $1.1 billion judgement against Corinthian Colleges, Inc., a fraudulent, for-profit college. And I’ve continued that fight during this crisis. I started oversight two months ago in February when I called the HHS Deputy Secretary to demand information on the Department’s coronavirus preparations. And I demanded that administration officials come testify at Congressional hearings about the coronavirus to provide better and accurate information to the public.

Since then, I wrote a letter to Vice President, FEMA, and HHS demanding transparency on medical supplies disbursement, wrote a letter to the Department of Treasury demanding that it expedite direct payments to people, wrote President Trump over the lack of permanent inspector generals in the federal government, wrote the Bureau of Prisons about releasing low-risk prisoners following reports of a positive coronavirus case inside a California prison, and pressed DHS officials to prioritize public health in DHS detention and enforcement policies. I’ve also continued to speak with constituents, experts, and officials to understand what’s happening on the front lines and how I can help. Those conversations helped inform the legislation I’ve introduced and supported that would expand disaster assistance to individuals during pandemics and increase funding for the CDC to reach out to immigrant and other vulnerable communities. Those conversations have also led to the introduction of a resolution to condemn anti-Asian racism that the AAPI community is feeling every day.

Beating this virus requires that all of us work together. Congress must do oversight, the administration must focus on helping people — not playing games, and the American people must remember that we are resilient. Together, we will get through this. And that starts with practical solutions like suspending credit card fees, penalties, and interest.

For more on Senator Kamala Harris, visit her at: www.harris.senate.gov.

Opinion was originally published on medium.

19 COMMENTS

  1. Takes more than “calling for” and “writing letters.” Where’s the legislation, Kamala?

  2. I am a LEO Republican- Newsom and Harris have my vote. This leadership. The Trump admin has lost my confidence. As an LEO I take the welfare of people very seriously. Therefore the welfare of my country comes first, not the party. I took an oath to protect my community not a party. Enough is enough.

    • Spoken like a true communist. Kamala loves to spend other people’s money. She hopes it will buy votes. Just like all socialist systems, it all collapses when you run out of other people’s money. Venezuela is a prime example. If she continues this strategy more people will be dumpster diving.

    • Hey Enough! You have things ass-backwards! It’s the TRUMP administration which is keeping you alive, not Newsom (Nuisance) and Harris! If Harris and her buddies (Pelosi, Schummer, etc.) had stopped the harassment of President Trump with this “impeachment” which went nowhere, he would have had more time to deal with the “microscopic monster” which is keeping us hostage now. It’s people like Harris and Pelosi who should be called on-the-carpet.

  3. More “free” shit for people that can’t/don’t manage their lives. All on the backs if responsible, working tax payers.

  4. @Enough
    A SOCIALIST LEO Republican???
    I guess you were a “Bernie bro” if you love newsom & harris!

    • Actually Harris endorser Biden.
      And yes, the USA has many socialist services like 8 hour workdays, national minimum wage, Social Security, disability, unemployment, public parks, sewage and water, etc.

      • Bernie has fought for the working class people more than anyone in that mainstream platform. And yes Lola, I hope he lives longer than Fidel Castro did, even though Bernie is not a communist, he’s a democratic socialist. But you’re a typical ignorant American who doesn’t know the difference. I’m sure you’re happy the big corporations get another bailout huh?

        • Oh, I know the difference. Ever been to CUBA? A “socialist” country? I bet you haven’t! Anyone who works for a paycheck is “working class” … only those who live off their investments and don’t have to clock in are not working class. Bernie the Bolshevik is just that. A true communist. I guess even the stupid ones have rejected him for what he is and that’s promising. He’s entered the croaking age! Now, Biden is no better. He can’t tell the different between his wife and his sister and likes to lick little girls’ faces. What a great choice!

      • You’re right, Roxanne! I was born and grew up in the Soviet Union and I can smell a communist miles away. Bernie is nothing but a Bolshevik. He’s the classic variety. He doesn’t care for anyone but only to enrich himself just like the communists of old did.

  5. Enough isn’t an LEO or a Republican. Just some liberal hack looking for Biden votes.

    • Biden is such a winner. He cannot tell the difference between his wife and his sister. Also, he can’t tell a Tuesday from a Thursday. What a guy! Dementia?

  6. Then, after the financial storm has passed we will get offers for credit cards with 38% above prime rate instead of the current 26% above prime % rate. The banks prime is at or near zero. Also, for existing card holders, the penalty fees will double because they can change this at any time. Actions have consequences and thank you good people of this Nation she is no longer in the running for President because she is just another politician who knows this and doesn’t care enough about us. You can count on all future Presidents, including the current one, to not care about us either.

  7. Enough is the cop who sticks to traffic citations and is scared of bad guys and dark alleyways.

  8. I bet Kamala Harris is not “hurting.” Not one bit! She’s still being paid for being a senator. Maybe all congressmen and senators’ salaries should be suspended. They’re sitting around in their individual states just twiddling their thumbs.

  9. Can you just imagine if this woman whom couldn’t even get 1% in primaries becomes the next VP. MAGA

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