WASHINGTON (2/10/11)--Substantive changes to national tax and spending policies would reduce the national deficit and enhance the long-term growth potential of the U.S. economy, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said in testimony delivered before the 112th Congress on Wednesday. Bernanke called on both the Congress and the Obama Administration to make the needed changes. The tax and spending changes could encourage saving, aid investment in employee and workforce training, and promote research and development, Bernanke added. The House Ways and Means Committee is continuously examining the nation’s tax system, and examined economic and administrative issued posed by the current tax system during a Jan. 19 hearing. A number of other tax related hearings are expected. The credit union tax exemption was not on the agenda for the recent hearing, and is not slated to come up in the near future. However, the Credit Union National Association (CUNA) continues to guard against any legislative action regarding the tax exemption by touting the exemption as one of the highest-yielding investments the federal government has made. CUNA figures show that America's 92 million credit union members receive substantial benefits in the form of better pricing on services, saving them about $7.5 billion a year. The $7.5 billion savings to consumers is especially significant when measured against the $1.5 billion in lost federal revenue a year that the government says is represented by the credit union tax exemption. "Further, the tax exemption helps to ensure consumers have choices beyond commercial banks in the financial marketplace. It is appropriate to view these results as evidence of sound public policy," CUNA President/CEO Bill Cheney has remarked.