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Treasury Bill

Sen. Daniel K. Akaka, a Democrat from Hawaii, has long advocated improvements to real-world financial education for students. Last year, he worked to make April "Financial Literacy for Youth Month."

Sen. Akaka set out to do the same this year, but reportedly ran into concerns from officials in the Department of the Treasury.

They allegedly asked Republicans not to support the measure because it contained language that reflected poorly on the country's economic health and, in turn, on President Bush's economic policies, according to The Washington Post.

The "whereas" clauses in Sen. Akaka's proposed resolution included references to huge increases in consumer debt, foreclosures on federal housing loans, and personal bankruptcies, according to the newspaper.

Sen. Daniel K. Akaka

Last year's resolution, which passed with bipartisan support by voice vote, included all of those references.

Even though the senator was reluctant to change the language of this year's resolution, he conceded because the measure was nonbinding, the Post reported on Feb. 27.

Calls to Sen. Akaka's office and to the Treasury Department seeking comment were not returned last week. The senator has not formally introduced his resolution.

But Heidi Frederickson, a spokeswoman for Sen. George Allen, a Virginia Republican who has agreed to co-sponsor the resolution, said most of the language in this year's version is the same.

"The whole resolution is nearly identical" to last year's, she said.

The only difference is that "Financial Literacy Month" for this April would be targeted at adults and young people alike, Ms. Frederickson said.

So this year, it seems, everyone in the country needs to bone up on basic money-management skills.

Last year's resolution also requested that the president issue a proclamation calling on schools, nonprofit organizations, and businesses to observe the month by providing programs and activities centered around financial responsibility.

—Michelle Galley

Vol. 23, Issue 26, Page 24

Published in Print: March 10, 2004, as Federal File

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