Last month, when I responded to the call from the Center for Enterprise Development to contact my senators and representative in congress and urge them to support the Savings for Working Families Act of 2007, the narcissist in me figured that my email would single-handedly make clear how important it is for my Vermont legislators in congress to join as co-sponsors of the bill.
Well, perhaps my email was not quite the masterpiece of citizen advocacy that I had thought it was. Here’s the response I got back from Congressman Peter Welch (D):
“Thank you for contacting me about H.R. 1514, the Savings for Working Families Act of 2007. I appreciate your feedback on this important issue.
I share your concern for rewarding the hard work of American working families and providing them with some much-needed assistance. As you may know, H.R. 1514 was introduced by Representative Stephanie Tubbs Jones (D-OH) on March 14, 2007. If enacted, the bill would allow certain low-income individuals between the ages of 18 and 61 to establish tax-exempt individual development accounts (IDAs) to pay for certain qualified expenses, including education expenses, first-time homebuyer costs, and business capitalization or expansion costs. H.R. 1514 is currently pending before the House Committee on Ways and Means.
I will keep your thoughts in mind and carefully consider any measures that come before Congress that may provide assistance to hard-working families.”
Yes, he certainly left the door open; at least he didn’t tell me to forget about it. And I should cut the guy some slack. Neither of my senators (Patrick Leahy and Bernie Sanders) has bothered to reply yet, and Welch is the new guy who probably has to take more time to review proposed legislation before he can commit his name to it.
But I don’t think he really understands the bill, because his message doesn’t mention the matching incentives that will help low-income people build assets faster. And it doesn’t look like he’ll be fighting for it.
I think that’s been the problem with this legislation for the last few years. Lots of people seem to think it’s a fine idea and would probably vote for it if the time ever came to vote, but it will take more passionate advocates of the bill to ever get it to a vote. I hope CFED will keep up the pressure.