Did South Dakota's Johnson Throw a Wet Blanket on MBL?
Did Sen. Tim Johnson (D-S.D.) curb Senate support for raising the member business lending cap when he called the legislation “a controversial matter” on the Senate floor?
On March 19, Johnson spoke in favor of his amendment to the Jump Start Our Business Startups Act, which would have reauthorized the Import-Export Bank. While speaking about his bill, Johnson also addressed Sen. Mark Udall’s (D-Colo.) attempt to attach credit union member business lending legislation to the JOBS Act.
“As chairman of the Banking Committee, I held a hearing on this issue last June, and as my staff and I have told the Leader and his staff since then, this is a very controversial matter. From the testimony of the credit union and banking industry witnesses at that hearing and the ongoing conversations over the past months, it is clear there is no consensus,” Johnson said. “If the Senate chooses to move forward on this issue, I urge the Senate to move forward carefully.”
When asked if he thought Johnson’s comments may have influenced other senators to avoid a vote on S. 2231, Senate Banking Committee spokesman Sean Oblack said, “On March 15th on the Senate floor, Majority Leader Reid committed to voting on Member Business Lending. We are not aware that there has been a change.”
MBL legislation was not attached to the JOBS Act, and while Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) has not rescinded his commitment to bring S. 2231 to a vote this session, banking lobby groups and trade publications claim the vote has been delayed indefinitely, and is unlikely to be passed this year.
However, Udall told Credit Union Times last week that he remains committed to bringing S. 2231 to a vote in 2012.
Johnson’s attempt to attach his amendment to the JOBS Act also failed, and the future of the Import-Export Bank is in doubt, as Republicans in both the House and Senate oppose reauthorization.
Johnson is not one of S. 2231’s 21 co-sponsors.