WASHINGTON (7/14/10)--Mentioning the support of the Credit Union National Association (CUNA) among others, Sen. Mark Udall (D-Colo.) took the Senate floor last evening to speak on behalf of his measure that would raise the credit union member business lending (MBL) cap to 27.5%, up from 12.25%. Udall has drafted the language as an amendment to The Small Business Lending Fund Act, which is now up for a Senate vote. The MBL cap increase is backed by the Obama administration, and the Udall amendment reflects legislative language sent to federal lawmakers by the U.S. Treasury earlier this year. CUNA President/CEO Bill Cheney said after Udall's remarks, “Our sincere thanks to Sen. Udall for bringing this important issue before the Senate today and particularly for his passionate support of helping credit unions play a role--at no cost to taxpayers--in increasing jobs during this economic recovery.” Cheney added, “The legislation he spoke of today would create more than 100,000 new jobs, and inject $10 billion into the economy, in the first year, just by increasing the capacity of credit unions to make business loans. In making the point that this amendment is about helping small businesses, Sen. Udall spoke about two Coloradans who have received credit union financing to start their small businesses; small businesses that are thriving today. "We are also very grateful for his comments about CUNA and credit unions generally. We urge all senators to support the Udall amendment to the small business jobs bill." Earlier Tuesday, the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) urged the U.S. Congress to pass a zero-cost “stimulus for America’s small businesses” by increasing the statutory limit on credit union MBLs. “There has never been a better time, or a better opportunity, to move the economy forward," said Chairman Debbie Matz in a release. “Congress now has an opportunity to increase the ability of credit unions to lend to small businesses, and in doing so empower credit union members to create more jobs and spur economic growth. “Credit union member business lending, when done in a safe and prudent manner that includes appropriate regulatory safeguards, can be of significant benefit to a small business community that is too often limited in their access to credit,” Matz said in her call to action on MBL legislation. The Senate was expected to resume work yesterday on the Small Business Lending Fund Act (H.R. 5297) and begin voting on possible amendments. Sen. Udall has introduced the amendment to increase the credit union MBL cap to 27.5% of total assets, up from the current 12.25%. CUNA and credit unions have led a sustained grassroots push for MBL legislation, and have amplified their efforts to garner bipartisan support for the Udall provision in advance of a vote. Cheney urged credit union advocates to continue to light up the switchboard (202-224-3121) at the U.S. Capitol to contact senators to urge them to support the Udall amendment. (See related story: Keep up grassroots on CU issues, says Cheney) H.R. 5297 also is the bill that would allocate $30 billion for community banks to try to stimulate increase lending by those institutions to small businesses. CUNA has underscored that an MBL increase would carry no cost to taxpayers, but could infuse $10 billion of credit into small business and create more than 100,000 jobs.