Repackaged MBL Bill Introduced in Senate Following CUNA GAC
March 27, 2012
March 27, 2012
Just days after more than 4,000 credit unionists were in Washington, D.C., for the Credit Union National Association (CUNA) Governmental Affairs Conference (GAC) advocating for the movement, the credit union member business lending (MBL) bill has a new name—and it’s poised to move quickly.
Mark Udall, D-Colo., who sponsored S. 509, the original MBL bill, has now reintroduced the bill as S. 2231, positioning it for debate and a possible vote in the U.S. Senate. The new bill has been introduced under Rule 14, allowing it to bypass the committee process and be called immediately for a full vote.
Udall made the move to repackage the bill after S. 509 was referred to the Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs, where it was expected to die without receiving a vote in the Senate.
“I just can’t believe we’re going to let these squabbles between the banks and credit unions keep job creators from going to work in the small-small-business sector,” Udall said last week. Jennifer Wagner, vice president of legislative advocacy for the Northwest Credit Union Association (NWCUA), echoed those sentiments.
“This shouldn’t be a battle between banks and credit unions,” Wagner said. “This is a small-business issue, a Main Street issue, an economic recovery issue. It’s a jobs conversation.”
Wagner was one of more than 230 credit union professionals from the Northwest on Capitol Hill last week, and she said that credit unions were clearly top of mind for many legislators.
“The vibe in our meetings with our delegation was very positive,” she said. “They’ve obviously kept up with the trends, are familiar with the growth credit unions have seen, and one of our big talking points was that we need the legislation in Congress to keep up with these trends.”
The CUNA GAC came on the heels of a “legislative fly-in” by the banking industry, fueling the conflict between the two industries. Wagner said the credit union supporters worked hard to avoid the adversarial message and to stress the importance of credit union legislation as a benefit to the public.
“The timing of us being there last week couldn’t have been any better with the bankers on the Hill,” Wagner said. “They’ve only just begun in their attempts to campaign against this bill, so we have to be vigilant and not let up in our efforts.”
Wagner said an action alert for Northwest credit unions is forthcoming this week and encouraged credit union advocates to continue to be in contact with legislators to show support for the MBL bill.
The other significant priority at the GAC was the introduction of supplemental capital legislation.
“This was really a great opportunity on the supplemental capital bill,” Wagner said. “We’ve been talking about it for a couple years, but until there’s an actual bill in Congress, the issue isn’t pressing enough to gain a lot of attention. Now that we have a specific bill, there was a lot more interest from our delegation in understanding the reasons why credit unions need supplemental capital, and it was a great first big step on the bill.”
Wagner said that legislators and their staff were consistently impressed by the sheer number of credit union supporters on hand for the GAC.
“The Association is very grateful for so many people taking a week and traveling so far to be part of the conference and part of our Hill meetings,” Wagner said. “It’s so critical—and our delegation, our members of congress mentioned that—that we can bring such a strong group of people such a long distance. It really speaks to the importance of these issues.”
Questions? Contact a member of the Association’s Legislative Affairs team: