The Empowering States' Right to Protect Consumers Act, S. 1829, would effectively overturn a 1978 Supreme Court decision that said interest rates charged by nationally chartered banks take precedent over state-level interest rate laws. Whitehouse said that decision, in the case Marquette National Bank of Minneapolis v. First of Omaha Service Corporation, led many banks to become nationally chartered so they could impose their own interest rates across various states.

"That is why the credit card divisions of major banks are based in just a few states and why consumers in other States are often denied protection from outrageous interest rates and fees, even though those outrageous interest rates and fees are against the law of the consumer's home state," Whitehouse said.

The bill would not prescribe interest rates, but would allow states to recapture what he said was their historic powers to set interest rate policies within their boundaries. Whitehouse said the current system hurts consumers by assessing higher rates, but also hurts small local banks who are forced to follow the rules within their state but compete with nationally chartered banks.

"This is a special privilege for big national banks that can move their offices to whatever State will give them the best deal in terms of lousy consumer protection and unlimited interest rates," he said. "A small local lender has to play by the rules of fair interest rates. Gigantic credit card companies can avoid having any rules at all."

Senate Majority Whip Dick DurbinRichard (Dick) Joseph DurbinDemocrats turn on Al Franken Minnesota's largest newspaper calls on Franken to resign Democratic senator predicts Franken will resign Thursday MORE (D-Ill.), who has fought against debit card fees, is a co-sponsor of the bill, as are Sens. Mark BegichMark Peter BegichPerez creates advisory team for DNC transition The future of the Arctic 2016’s battle for the Senate: A shifting map MORE (D-Alaska), Al FrankenAlan (Al) Stuart FrankenDemocrats turn on Al Franken Schumer called, met with Franken and told him to resign Overnight Finance: Trump says shutdown 'could happen' | Ryan, conservatives inch closer to spending deal | Senate approves motion to go to tax conference | Ryan promises 'entitlement reform' in 2018 MORE (D-Minn.), Jeff MerkleyJeffrey (Jeff) Alan MerkleyAvalanche of Democratic senators say Franken should resign Senate nixes provision boosting conservative college after uproar Overnight Energy: Panel advances controversial Trump nominee | Ex-coal boss Blankenship to run for Senate | Dem commissioner joins energy regulator MORE (D-Ore.), Jack ReedJohn (Jack) Raymond ReedSenate panel moves forward with bill to roll back Dodd-Frank Army leader on waiver report: 'There's been no change in standards' 15 Dems urge FEC to adopt new rules for online political ads MORE (D-R.I.), and Bernie SandersBernard (Bernie) SandersSchumer: Franken should resign Franken resignation could upend Minnesota races Avalanche of Democratic senators say Franken should resign MORE (I-Vt.).