WASHINGTON-The House Ways and Means Committee gave the green light to a $100 billion economic stimulus package championed by President George W. Bush to help spur the economy following the September terrorist attacks. Credit union trade associations have said they would like to see Individual Development Accounts (IDAs) included in the package. The legislation would provide greater and swifter tax reductions and additional rebates for those not eligible for the first round, as well as several corporate benefits. The IDAs promoted by CUNA and NAFCU provide matching funds to the poor for their savings towards a first home purchase, post-secondary education, or starting a small business. “Credit unions know that saving is a matter of choice and that the most important factor in long-term wealth accumulation is the act of saving itself,” NAFCU wrote in a letter to Ways and Means Chairman William Thomas. CUNA Vice President and Senior Legislative Counsel Gary Kohn pointed out that banks are trying to add an amendment permitting financial institutions to pay interest on business checking accounts, which was passed earlier this session as a standalone bill. Credit unions would then work to get the continuance of the Federal Reserve Fee Study, from the earlier legislation, included as well. The bill also added credit unions to the financial institutions in the study.

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