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WASHINGTON-Senator Daniel Akaka (D-Hawaii) is juggling two bills in the Senate right now that have a potential impact on credit unions. On May 19, the Senate passed H.R. 1528, the Tax Administration Good Government Act, after first stripping the House-passed language and inserting its own. The text of H.R. 1528 was replaced with that of S. 882, which included language inserted by Senator Akaka to provide funding for taxpayer assistance services and directs low-income users to insured financial institutions, including credit unions. NCUA Director of Public and Congressional Affairs Cliff Northup has been following the legislation. He explained that it would allow the Treasury Department to provide grants to institutions that offer tax assistance, which a number of credit unions do through the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program. The House bill did not include this language. The Senate has sent the new H.R. 1528 back to the House, which can accept the bill as amended or hold conference with the Senate, Northup said. Additionally, Senator Akaka and three other leading Democrats introduced a bill May 21 to enhance consumer disclosures on the repercussions of making only minimum payments on credit cards. The Credit Card Minimum Payment Warning Act (S. 2475) was introduced May 21. The legislation would amend the Truth in Lending Act to require a `Minimum Payment Warning’ section, including the number of years and months it would take to pay off the balance at that pace, the total cost to the consumer, the monthly payment necessary to pay of the debt in 36 months, a toll-free phone number for consumers for information on credit counseling and debt management.

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