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WASHINGTON-Six Republican members of the House Ways and Means Committee have broken ranks with their chairman. In a June 25 letter to President George W. Bush, Representatives Philip Crane (Ill.), the second-highest ranking Republican on the committee; Nancy Johnson (Conn.); Michael “Mac” Collins (Ga.); Jerry Weller (Ill.); Ron Lewis (Ky.); and Paul Ryan (Wis.) stated, “The mission of credit unions has not changed; they continue to serve the needs of the consumer and provide an important choice for financial services. Credit Unions continue to provide the same service to their members they always have-consumers save over $150 per year in fees and other changes alone by membership in a credit union.” The letter also thanked President Bush for his support of credit unions’ tax-exempt status. Committee Chairman Bill Thomas (R-Calif.) said earlier this year he was interested in looking into the tax exemption of many nonprofits, including credit unions. “Credit unions are, and must remain, tax exempt because they are member-owned, democratically operated, not-for-profit organizations generally managed by volunteer boards of directors, and because they have the specified mission of meeting the credit and savings needs of consumers,” the letter continued. “We oppose any limitation or modification of the tax-exempt status of credit unions, and thank you again for your support.” Earlier this year, President George W. Bush sent letters to CUNA and NAFCU supporting credit unions’ tax-exempt status. In response to this positive development in preserving the credit union tax exemption, CUNA Senior Vice President for Governmental Affairs John McKechnie commented, “It is particularly gratifying to see this many Republican members of the Ways and Means Committee publicly add their voices to the chorus in support of the tax exemption. CUNA has been working to create an environment on Capitol Hill where lawmakers feel encouraged to side with the 85 million Americans who are credit union members, and this letter is the latest manifestation of success.” Though a hearing is still possible, the lobbyist said, credit unions’ tax exemption has great and growing support from members of Congress and both presidential candidates. [email protected]

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