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Ways and Means members highlight their support for CUs at CUNA GAC
WASHINGTON (2/26/14)--With House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp (R-Mich.) expected to release his much-anticipated and much-delayed plan to overhaul the tax code today, attendees of the Credit Union National Association's 2014 Government Affairs Conference (GAC) lent an attentive ear to members of the committee who spoke at the GAC Tuesday.

Click to view larger image U.S. Rep. Linda Sanchez (D-Calif.) told CUNA's 2014 Governmental Affairs Conference audience that changing the credit union tax status would also severely hamper credit unions' ability to compete with banks. "More competition means more choices and better terms for consumers," Sanchez said. (CUNA Photo)
House Ways and Means Committee members who took the GAC stage offered credit unions unequivocal support. Although Reps. Linda Sanchez (D-Calif.), John Larson (D-Conn.) and Sandy Levin (D-Mich.) provided no guarantees that Camp's plan would not include a change to the credit union tax status, each spoke out against changing credit union tax status and offered high praise for the role credit unions play in their communities.
 
Sanchez, who told the audience she has been a credit union member since she was 16, said the Ways and Means Committee hopes to foster more economic certainty through tax reform. "Preserving the credit union tax status will help provide much of that needed certainty," Sanchez said. "Congress has consistently supported the credit union tax exemption because of the special manner in which credit unions serve their [members] as not-for-profit member-owned cooperatives."
 
Sanchez represents 158,000 credit union members in her district, she told the audience. "That includes firefighters, teachers, janitors, military personnel--the people who are the glue that hold our communities together," she said. "So as a member of the Ways and Means Committee, I am committed to ensuring that our tax code helps protect those middle-class families, and we've been working very hard to get a meaningful, serious tax reform bill done this year."
 
Click to view larger image U.S. Rep. John Larson (D-Mich.) said there is "broad-based support" for the preserving the credit union tax status on the House Ways and Means Committee, but urged credit unions to remain vigilant in continuing to work with legislators. (CUNA Photo)
Changing the credit union tax status would also severely hamper credit unions' ability to compete with banks. "More competition means more choices and better terms for consumers," Sanchez said.
 
Larson said there is "broad-based support" for the preserving the credit union tax status on the House Ways and Means Committee, but urged credit unions to remain vigilant in continuing to work with legislators.
 
Larson pledged his support for preserving the credit union tax status. "If we strengthen our financial institutions, if we work with credit unions, if we work with people in all walks of life that come to Washington D.C. to strengthen this country, we're going to be a better nation," he said.
 
Click to view larger image U.S. Rep. Sandy Levin (D-Mich.) advised credit unions to "make your numbers known" in Washington this week. "Yours is the voice of the typical family in this country," he said. "Let it be heard." (CUNA Photo)
As he introduced Levin, Michigan Credit Union League President/CEO Dave Adams read a statement Levin had offered the league in support of the credit union tax status: "I am committed to a thoughtful reform of our nation's tax code that ensures important policies such as the credit union tax exemption continue to serve the best interests of the American tax payer," Levin told the league.
 
Levin, who said he has been a credit union member for more than 50 years, said credit unions helped steer the U.S. economy out of the recent recession. "It was difficult for people to know where to turn if they needed to purchase something, if they needed to buy a car, if they needed to prevent foreclosure of a home," Levin said. "There was one place that people in this country could turn to, and that was a credit union."
 
Levin advised credit unions to "make your numbers known" in Washington this week, and also to court legislators that may not be familiar with the credit union story. "Tax reform is complicated, but the role of the credit unions isn't," Levin said "Yours is the voice of the typical family in this country. Let it be heard."
 
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