WASHINGTON-The more things change, the more some things stay the same. As more members enter Congress with an `R’ beside their names, CUNA’s strategy for lobbying Congress has shifted but its focus remains the same. Regardless of who is in control, CUNA continues to pursue what is best for its members, according to its lobbying team. “The balance in Congress does have an impact on strategy. There’s no question about that,” CUNA Vice President of Legislative Affairs and Senior Legislative Counsel Gary Kohn explained. “If you’re looking for a champion of legislation, the majority party is obviously the one that’s going to have the greatest impact. It’s still good to have a bipartisan balance but you want to make sure that if you’re pushing legislation that you’re going to have the majority party on your side.” Notice that of two Republicans and two Democrats that are the main sponsors for the Credit Union Regulatory Improvements Act, Republican Congressman Ed Royce (Calif.) has taken the lead. In fact, CUNA Senior Vice President for Governmental Affairs John McKechnie said the CURIA cosponsors have asked that CUNA try to drum up more Republican support for the bill to make it more politically viable. While members from both sides of the aisle signed on to the bill last session, the split did lean decidedly Democrat. CUNA’s lobbying shop is evenly divided, representing the trade association’s membership, McKechnie noted. “I can say with complete certainty, this is my 18th year at CUNA, we have achieved much more of a balance in the last five or six or seven years in that respect than we did prior to that,” he observed. “I think that’s important. I think our members are driving this and they demand it, they expect it, and I think they benefit from it.” No matter what a lobbyist’s party affiliation, they all deal with members from both parties, Kohn emphasized. From his vantage point, CUNA Vice President of Political Affairs Richard Gose said, “Politically, we continue to support credit union friends, that’s the bottom line. We don’t look at what letter is beside your name, it’s are you a friend of ours or not?”

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