WASHINGTON-Lawmakers were working hard last week to be able to adjourn for the year before the holiday season kicks into high gear. While their families were decking the halls, members of Congress were trying to wrap up the work of the first session of the 109th Congress last week. They were expected to possibly work into the weekend and even early this week. Two key items remain on the legislative agenda, according to CUNA Legislative Affairs Manager John Hildreth: the tax bill and budget reconciliation. "We don't see any tax-related credit union items in either of these bills," CUNA Senior Vice President of Governmental Affairs John McKechnie commented. Typically, Congress does not add new items to legislation that is in conference, "except when they do," he quipped. In any case, Hildreth added, "We're being extra vigilant." "It should be of note.[the reconciliation bill] is a potential vehicle for moving deposit insurance reform," NAFCU Director of Legislative Affairs Brad Thaler said. While he said he expects the House and Senate to reach a compromise on the deposit insurance reform legislation, it might be pulled from the reconciliation legislation and moved separately early next year if conferees do not reach an agreement on coverage and who will set the level soon. An extension of certain provisions of the PATRIOT Act is also included in the budget reconciliation. Additionally, Thaler pointed out, the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act reauthorization may move. For next year, Congress will likely not accomplish much in January, according to the NAFCU lobbyist. He said the House is not even expected to return from recess until the end of the month.

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