Banking lobbyists have actively fought legislative efforts to raise the credit union member business lending cap all year.
So is pitching a package deal on Capitol Hill that would combine MBL and an extension of the Transactional Account Guarantee – which tops bankers’ legislative wish list – a good idea?
Yes, say representatives from both CUNA and NAFCU.
NAFCU President/CEO Fred Becker penned a letter to senators advocating such a deal, saying “Passing a package combining the two issues … would not only be a win-win proposition for credit unions and banks, but also for the American people and our nation’s economy.”
Becker said in his Monday letter that combining the two would make MBL support more palatable to legislators on Capitol Hill who don’t want to alienate bank or credit union supporters.
Additionally, with just four weeks left in the current congressional session, opportunities to attach MBL legislation to bills with momentum are waning.
One bill that is moving through Congress – the defense authorization bill for 2013 – has amendment restrictions and does not present opportunities for credit unions or banks, Becker said.
CUNA has also been pushing a package deal on Capitol Hill, said Ryan Donovan, senior vice president of political affairs. However, Donovan said, despite the suggestion, the vehicle by which credit unions could see a vote on MBL is beyond the industry’s control.
“We’re reliant upon leadership in the Senate, which is why we’ve been working since day one with folks like Reid, Schumer and Brown,” Donovan said of current Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and senior Senate Banking Committee members Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio).
It’s impossible to predict the timing of the lame duck session, or how bills will advance, added CUNA’s John Magill, executive vice president of governmental affairs.
“There’s definitely not a hard schedule, which is why we will stay on the Hill pretty much around the clock between now and Christmas,” he said.