Whether it was a drafting error, oversight or legislative sleight of hand, credit unions are warning that they were left out of significant parts of the Senate Republican version of the latest economic stimulus package to offset the coronavirus.
In a letter to senators this weekend, NAFCU President/CEO B. Dan Berger warned that the definitions used in several sections of the bill would include banks but exclude credit unions.
“I do think we need to recognize that this is being done very quickly,” Carrie Hunt, NAFCU’s EVP for government relations and general counsel, said.
Ryan Donovan, CUNA’s chief advocacy officer, said the oversights were the result of drafting errors and that there is interest in the Senate to make sure the errors are corrected.
The stimulus legislation has been the subject of partisan brawling during the past several days. Democratic senators blocked the Senate from considering the GOP bill that Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) attempted to bring to the floor.
Democrats said the GOP legislation gave away too much money to big business, with little accountability attached.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) unveiled her own plan Monday afternoon.
That plan would include a supplemental appropriation of $200 million for the Community Development Financial Institutions program and authorization for new CDFI programs.
The Senate bill did not include that language.
The Senate bill also includes the banking provisions cited by Berger.
For instance, Berger said, credit unions are left out of a proposal that would authorize loans to small businesses to pay their employees.
The bill also proposed additional capital flexibility for community banks but left out credit unions, he said.
And it left credit unions out of a provision that would allow them to participate in a small business interruption program.
In addition to the McConnell and Pelosi proposals, lawmakers are attempting to attach other legislation they said would provide economic relief.
For example, Democratic Sens. Sherrod Brown of Ohio and Cory Booker of New Jersey want to restrict overdraft fees charged by financial institutions.