WASHINGTON (12/10/07)—Three of Washington’s top lawmakers recently accepted invitations to address the 2008 CUNA Governmental Affairs Conference to be held here March 2-6. Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) will address the credit union conference on Thursday morning , March 6. House Ways and Means Chairman Charles Rangel (D-N.Y.) and House Minority Whip Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) are on the schedule Wednesday morning, March 5. As minority whip, Blunt is a key figure in forming his party's
responses to current legislation and in coordinating the Republican caucus. He previously has addressed CUNA's GAC in 2007 and 2002. In 1997, his first year in Congress, Blunt co-sponsored the historic CU Membership Access Act, which became law a year later. On bankruptcy reform, Blunt became personally involved in inserting CUNA-supported language protecting credit union members' right to reaffirm their debts. On retirement savings, he helped ensure that CUNA-supported provisions to expand Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs), pensions, and Education Savings Accounts (ESAs) were included in the final 2001 tax bill. Rangel, who is serving his 19th term in the House, became chairman
of the powerful tax-writing panel, the Ways and Means Committee, in January of this year, after the federal elections established the Democratic party with a slight majority in the House. Rangel succeeded Republican chairman Bill Thomas of California, who in November 2005 conducted a hearing into the tax status of federal credit unions. Rangel spoke out forcefully in support of credit unions at that hearing. Baucus was elected to the Senate in 1978, after two terms in the
House of Representatives, and has served consecutive terms ever since. As chairman of the Finance Committee, Baucus was key to the deliberations regarding how financial institutions should treat Social Security and other government benefits when recouping funds or assessing fees in an overdraft situation. Baucus said he preferred a regulatory approach over a legislative one. The federal financial institution regulators, including the NCUA, have since issued guidance. The 2008 GAC will be CUNA’s inaugural event in the new Washington Convention Center. For 30 years, including 2007, the event was hosted at the Washington Hilton & Towers. Also featured on the 2008 GAC program are Gen. Colin Powell, political commentator Chris Matthews, host of MSNBC's "Hardball" and NBC's "The Chris Matthews Show," and humorist Dave Barry. New to the GAC this year is an opening kickoff concert Sunday evening, March 2, featuring the band "America" and sponsored by the CUNA Councils. Additional speakers will be announced in coming weeks as they are confirmed. Housing reservation lines opened Nov. 5. Use the link below for more information.