There’s a saying on Capitol Hill that Congress works in two time frames: now, and not now.
So goes the pursuit of member business lending legislation, after a report in American Banker on Monday sourced Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) telling bankers that a vote on S. 2231, the Small Business Lending Enhancement Act, has been delayed until this summer.
The comment caused a ruckus in the credit union movement, because the non-profits have been anticipating a vote on raising the MBL cap since Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nev.) promised it back in late March.
NAFCU President/CEO Fred Becker called the possible delay “part of the evolving legislative process,” saying passing legislation “is a process, not an event.”
“This is Washington,” Becker said. “The bill is still on the calendar, nobody’s taken it off. When Senator Reid said we’d have a vote, he didn’t say when or how, and we’ll continue to bring pressure to move forward.”
Becker also said in a release that trade reports on the comment distorted the status of the bill. Schumer spokesman Brian Fallon was quoted as saying a vote wasn’t expected until May or even June; however, trade reports stretched the delay further to “the second half of the year.”
The timing of the comment is suspect, as members of the Independent Community Bankers of America are hiking the hill this week, lobbying against credit union MBL.
“While those opposed to MBL legislation would like to interpret the inaction to date as delay, the Senate agenda is always fluid, and our MBL legislation remains on the calendar,” Becker said.