WASHINGTON — Although speakers at NAFCU’s Congressional Caucus pledged their support for credit union member business lending , not one member of Congress said MBL legislation would be passed before the end of this year.
Many speakers echoed Rep. Ed Perlmutter (D-Colo.), who said few days remain before members of Congress leave Washington to campaign and fiscal and deficit issues will dominate the lame duck session.
Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) said just because Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nev.) told credit union leaders they would get a vote on MBL this year, doesn't guarantee a vote.
Paul said credit unions may want to consider being “a thorn in the side” of Congress if they want to get legislation passed.
Sen. Jack Reed (D-R.I.) said he hopes Congress can pass S. 2231 because credit union performance in business lending deserves to be recognized. However, he added he didn’t think it would and said the issue will need to come around next year.
Rep. Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.V.) told the audience she felt credit unions didn’t make their case effectively that raising the cap was really necessary.
“In the hearing, part of the disconnect on this was the feeling that the case was not made by credit union that the current caps are really being pushed enough,” Capito said.
Credit unions may have to juggle member business lending advocacy next year with fighting to retain the industry’s tax exemption. Several speakers, including Capito, Rep. John Campbell (R-Calif.), Rep. Gary Peters (D-Mich.) and Rep. Gary Miller (R-Calif.) said they have been lobbied by bankers to eliminate the credit union tax exemption when Congress tackles tax reform next year.
Credit unions may need to mend some fences with Miller, who said his feelings were hurt during the primary season when the California Credit Union League wrote a $500,000 check to his opponent, former Arrowhead Credit Union executive Pete Aguilar, who did not get enough votes to advance to the general election.
Miller said the endorsement was short sighted because had Aguilar won, he would be unlikely as a freshman representative to score a House Financial Services subcommittee chairman position. Miller is currently chairs the subcommittee on international monetary policy and trade.
Bob Arnould, senior vice president of Government Affairs for the CCUL, disputed Miller’s account, saying the league donated $135,000 to Aguilar from its super PAC. Additionally, the league has since donated the maximum $5,000 PAC contribution to Miller’s general election campaign.
According to campaign donation tracking website OpenSecrets.org, the CCUL’s super PAC donated $201,325 to Aguilar in addition to a $5,000 maximum donation from its traditional PAC. OpenSecrets, which last updated Miller’s PAC donations as of Sept. 3, had no record of a recent donation from the CCUL.