WASHINGTON-The House passed the Veterans Affairs, Housing and Urban Development and Independent Agencies Appropriations Act, 2004 (H.R. 2861) by a vote of 316-109. The legislation is home to funding for the Community Development Financial Institutions Fund and the Community Development Revolving Loan Fund. It also sets the borrowing authority cap for credit unions’ Central Liquidity Facility. Funding for the CDFI received a drastic cut from $75 million last year to $51 million for fiscal year 2004, which was the amount the administration requested. CUNA had written the appropriators requesting at least $80 million. The CDRLF got $1 million for technical assistance grants to low-income designated credit unions. Typically the fund is divided into about 70% loans and 30% grants, but loan demand has been low, while technical assistance grants have far exceeded funds. NCUA had requested $2 million to cover both as opposed to the usual $1 million. The agency will be looking for funding for loans in the future as interest rates rise and demand begins again for the low-rate loans. Finally, the CLF borrowing authority ceiling was set at $1.5 billion, as it has been since Y2K. The credit union community has settled on this cap, but strongly supports eliminating it in favor of the statutory 12 times capital plus surplus.

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