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Bill Promoting Financial Literacy and Education Heads to White House

On November 21, the House approved, 379-49, the conference report for H.R. 2622, a bill to reauthorize the Fair Credit Reporting Act (P.L. 104-208). The Senate approved the conference report by unanimous consent on November 22. It will now go to the White House for the President’s signature.

Sponsored by Rep. Spencer Bachus (R-AL), the National Consumer Credit Reporting System Improvement Act would extend the federal preemption of state credit reporting laws. The measure also would improve the use and access of consumer credit reports. H.R. 2622 would limit the sharing of personal consumer information, including medical information. In addition, the bill would strengthen penalties against identify theft.

Of particular interest to women and their families, H.R. 2622 would establish a Financial Literacy and Education Commission to improve federal financial literacy and education programs in the United States. Under the measure, the commission would develop a national strategy promoting basic financial literacy and education at the state and local levels and would be responsible for disseminating public education materials. The commission also would establish a Web site and toll-free telephone number to serve as a clearinghouse of information on federal financial literacy programs.

Rep. Sue Kelly (R-NY) is the sponsor of a bill (H.R. 3520) with similar financial literacy provisions, known as the Strategy for Assuring Financial Empowerment (SAFE) Act. She lauded its inclusion in H.R. 2622, noting, “The ‘SAFE strategy’ will provide a clear vision for the future of financial literacy. The vision will provide a systematic approach to identify effective ways to increase the general education level of current and future consumers of financial services and products.”

Rep. Ruben Hinojosa (D-TX) thanked the conferees for including the financial literacy provisions and ensuring that the Financial Literacy and Education Commission provide multilingual programs and materials. “It is imperative that financial literacy materials be created and disseminated in languages other than English to recognize the diversity of our great nation,” he stated.

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