Mr. MOORE of Kansas. Mr. Speaker, I ask unanimous consent that all Members have 5 legislative days within which to revise and extend their remarks on this legislation and to insert any extraneous material thereon.
Mr. MOORE of Kansas. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself 5 minutes.
I would first like to thank my colleague, the gentlewoman from Illinois, for her good work on the issue of financial literacy. I would also like to recognize my colleague, Mr. Hinojosa, as cofounder and cochair of the Financial and Economic Literacy Caucus and to commend him for his work on this issue.
Possessing the skills to make informed financial decisions not only helps American families, but it's important for long-term fiscal soundness. From basic financial tools like balancing a checkbook and making a family budget, to more complex themes such as understanding intricate contracts, everybody can benefit from a little education on financial literacy.
As we have seen with the recent housing market problems, for example, too many people are unfamiliar with basic economic concepts needed to make responsible investments. With serious questions about the long-term viability of Social Security, it's clear that we do need to do a better job of educating people about the importance of private retirement savings.
Most importantly, however, we must ensure that throughout their regular education, our students have access to programs that promote financial literacy so they can form good money management habits before they inadvertently learn bad ones. Studies show that the percentage of undergraduates with credit cards is rising, while their basic understanding of the terms of these cards is on the decline. We must do something to stem this tide.
With responsible money management skills, it is easier for Americans to ride out rough economic times and prosper in times of economic richness. As we face the toughest economic challenge in our country since the Great Depression, it's evident that exercising prudent monetary practice is not a luxury, but a necessity, for all Americans.
We need to highlight the need for financial education and understanding. H. Res. 357 supports these goals and the goals of Financial Literacy Month. I couldn't be happier to be a cosponsor.
Mr. Speaker, I reserve the balance of my time.
Mr. SPRATT. Madam Speaker, pursuant to House Resolution 371, I call up the conference report to accompany the Senate concurrent resolution (S. Con. Res. 13) setting forth the congressional budget for the United States Government for fiscal year 2010, revising the appropriate budgetary levels for fiscal year 2009, and setting forth the appropriate budgetary levels for fiscal years 2011 through 2014, and ask for its immediate consideration.
The Clerk read the title of the Senate concurrent resolution.
Mrs. BIGGERT. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself as much time as I may consume.
I rise today as a cosponsor of House Resolution 357, which recognizes April as Financial Literacy Month, and I would strongly urge my colleagues to support it.
I would like to begin by thanking my good friend and fellow chair of the House Financial and Economic Literacy Caucus, Mr. Hinojosa, for his continuing efforts to improve financial literacy rates in America. I know he would have liked to have been here. He has been such an important force in financial literacy matters and will continue to be. I would like to thank my colleague from Kansas (Mr. Moore) for managing this bill on his behalf.
Our Financial and Economic Literacy Caucus has been at the forefront of this issue for several years, but we have much more work to do before us if we are going to help today's children become tomorrow's smart investors, entrepreneurs and business leaders, especially in tough economic times like this.
Mr. Speaker, efforts to stimulate the economy cannot succeed unless we equip Americans with the knowledge and resources they need to succeed in today's market.
According to the Jump$tart Coalition, high school seniors in 2008 answered only 48.3 percent of their organization's survey questions correctly on personal finance, a decline of 4.1 percent from 2006. And your average baby boomer still only has less than $50,000 in savings, and that savings continues to shrink as our economy continues to regain its momentum.
I know it's kind of odd to think about, but one of the few bright spots in the current economic climate is that savings rate has finally risen above the near zero level up to the 4 percent range. I think Americans are learning that a financial buffer is critical when times get unexpectedly tough.
So while we want to stimulate commerce in the short term, we must ensure that people do not forget the lessons of the past. We need to be prepared for tuition costs, a home, health care and retirement. We need a financial cushion against unexpected challenges like the death of a family member or a health condition, and we need the capital necessary for new entrepreneurs to launch the startups and open the small businesses that drive this economy.
Every American should have the opportunity and the know-how to fulfill each of these goals, and we must share these lessons with our children and our grandchildren through new, effective methods of teaching sound money management skills. That is why I urge my colleagues to support this resolution and show that financial literacy remains a top priority for Congress.
I would also like to encourage Members of the House and their staff to attend Friday's annual Financial Literacy Day Fair, which will be held from 12 noon to 4 p.m. in the afternoon in the Cannon Caucus Room, where you will be able to find a broad array of financial educational materials and ideas for reaching out to constituents on this important issue.
With that, I would urge support of this resolution and yield back the balance of my time.