As credit union executives were hiking the Hill this week during CUNA's Governmental Affairs Conference, their efforts did not go unnoticed by many lawmakers.
In particular, 16 legislators signed up to cosponsor H.R. 3380, the House bill to expand credit union member business lending authorities, which was a major focus of the GAC. The new cosponsors who signed up Feb. 25 included Democratic Representatives Carolyn Maloney (N.Y.), Carolyn Kilpatrick (Mich.), John Sarbanes (Md.), Patrick Kennedy (R.I.), Neil Abercrombie (Hawaii), Chellie Penigree (Maine), James Langevin (R.I.), Gary Peters (Mich.), Larry Kissell (N.C.), Alan Grayson (Fla.), Christopher Carney (Pa.), Steve Kagen (Wis.) and Pete Stark (Calif.). The new Republican cosponsors comprise Elton Gallegly (Calif.), Candice Miller (Mich.) and Gus Bilirakis (Fla.).
"Leagues and credit unions were energized by GAC this week and hit the Hill with full force," CUNA Vice President of Communications Pat Keefe stated. "Their effort helps build momentum behind business lending legislation, and shows the power of the credit union movement. If they want to make the point that credit unions have sustainable power, credit union activists must absolutely continue their contacts with their lawmakers on both sides of the Hill on this key issue."
The House bill now enjoys the support of main sponsor Paul Kanjorski (D-Pa.) plus 72 cosponsors. However, as House Financial Services Committee Chairman Barney Frank (D-Mass.) stated at GAC, the piece is unlikely to progress further without a signal from the Senate. A hearing on business lending, with credit union representatives, is currently taking place on the Hill.