Energy & Environment

GOP bill would codify Trump rule on financing for fossil fuels, guns

Sen. Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.) will introduce legislation to codify a tabled Trump administration rule that sought to force banks to serve the fossil fuel and firearms industries. 

The rule, first proposed in November, would have prohibited banks from declining to serve industries based on categorical exclusions rather than individual risk. 

It was in response to conservative concerns about banks not financing the fossil fuel industry or gun manufacturers. 

Former President Trump billed the rule as a way to ensure fair access to financing, and Cramer describes his legislation, which is unlikely to become law given Democratic control of Congress and the White House, as a matter of “fairness.”

A number of banks have placed self-imposed restrictions on financing certain fossil fuel activities such as Arctic drilling.  

“There is no place in our society for discrimination, and big banks are no exception,” he said in a statement. “Financial service providers do not have the right to circumvent the Constitution or the law to create de-facto bans on legally-compliant businesses like energy producers or firearms manufacturers when they believe it is politically convenient.”

Critics of the Trump rule said banks shouldn’t be forced to serve certain industries and criticized invoking discrimination in connection with gun manufacturers and fossil fuel companies given the struggles of people of color.

The legislation would prevent banks of a certain size from refusing to do business with any person who follows the law and prohibit credit card companies from refusing service for political or reputational reasons. 

Violators could face fines of up to $10,000 per infraction and disqualification from being able to borrow money from the Federal Reserve through its discount window lending program. 

The Biden administration prevented the Trump rule from being published in the Federal Register until a full-time comptroller of the currency can review it, halting it until the president’s eventual nominee takes office.

Tags Donald Trump fossil fuel industry Kevin Cramer

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