WASHINGTON (10/17/13)--Federal workers were expected back to work today after the U.S. House and Senate Wednesday moved toward a solution to the weeks-old spending standoff that led to a government shutdown--and the suspension of many federal workers' job responsibilities, as well as their paychecks.
Credit Union National Association President/CEO Bill Cheney took the opportunity to commend credit unions for their extensive work to help their members in need. "Over the last few weeks, we have heard so many fantastic reports of credit unions stepping up to help their members affected by the government shut down.
"Always in hard times such as these recent weeks, credit unions show how the credit union philosophy of 'People Helping People' deeply benefits their communities."
The budget bill, which was approved by the Senate late Wednesday and was adopted 285-144 by the House, will fund the government through Jan. 15 and increase the debt ceiling through Feb. 7, allowing the U.S. Treasury to continue to borrow funds to pay the nation's outstanding bills. It requires additional income verification measures under the Affordable Care and Patient Protection Act to ensure that those receiving financial assistance to purchase health insurance are qualified.
The budget agreement also requires congressional leaders to name conferees to a budget conference committee that would issue recommendations by Dec. 13.
Federal workers are expected to receive back pay under the terms of the deal. President Obama signed the bill shortly after midnight.
During the shutdown, credit unions supported affected members by offering zero-percent loans, penalty-free term share withdrawals, one- to three-month deferment of loan payments, and fee waivers on early withdrawals on share certificates.
CUNA this week detailed some of these efforts in a letter to U.S. Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.). Waters, the ranking member on the House Financial Services Committee, requested details from CUNA. CUNA's Cheney in the letter noted that "the credit union mission is to promote thrift and provide access to credit for provident purposes to members...As member-owned, not-for-profit cooperatives, credit unions embody a 'people helping people' philosophy. As a result, when credit union members face hardship, they have confidence that their credit union will stand with them and provide assistance. It is simply what we do," he added.
See resource links for extensive stories of credit unions' efforts.