Credit union consultant and lobbyist Dan Mica isn’t well known for going against the grain, but the Washington veteran said Wednesday he disagrees with political pundits who say the 2012 election results produced a status quo result.
“I don’t see a status quo at all, I see a brand new ball game,” said Mica, a former Florida congressman and longtime CUNA president/CEO.
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Republicans in Congress pushed an obstructionist agenda because they were hoping for a new congress with greater party control, and control of the White House, he said. Additionally, although party control of the two Capitol Hill chambers and the executive branch didn’t change, there are still a number of new players. Mica pointed out that 11% of the U.S. Senate will be new members and the House experienced 10% turnover.
“Add that to the 94 new members from 2010, and although some were defeated this year, you still have more than 100 members who are first or second term,” he said.
Additionally, the former congressman likened the experience of a tough campaign to post traumatic stress syndrome, saying nobody “comes out of a campaign the same way you came in.”
Those changes could mean positive traction for credit union issues, he said. Mica said he thinks S. 2231, which would raise the member business lending cap to 27.5% of assets, will likely be attached to another piece of legislation as Congress turns away from its obstructionist strategy.
“I think there are a number of vehicles it could be attached to,” he said of the coming lame duck session. “The word I’ve heard over the last week from representatives of both parties is that it’s better to get the most contentious issues out of the way in a lame duck, rather than hold it over your head for another two years.”
Mica said that means senators who hesitated to commit to member business lending legislation for fear of alienating banker support may “make peace” with credit unions. And, Democrats may make a statement against Republicans, who received overwhelming support from the banking lobby, particularly at the presidential level.
The economy might also get a boost from election results, as Congress tackles the federal budget and fiscal cliff issues.
“I think we’re one budget deal away from a thriving economy,” Mica said. And, he added, credit unions are well positioned to benefit from a robust economy, flush with new members and perhaps new legislation that will allow them to grow member business loans.