WASHINGTON (1/3/13)--The 113th U.S. Congress officially begins today as members are scheduled to be sworn in this afternoon, and the Credit Union National Association (CUNA) and state credit union leagues are already in action, welcoming new members and advocating for key credit union priorities as the 2013 legislative calendar begins.
CUNA representatives and members of credit union leagues from Missouri, North Carolina, Ohio, Texas and Kentucky will attend legislator open houses and swearing in ceremonies this week.
Organizational resolutions and other official business will likely be the only actions taken by the 113th Congress this week, and both the House and Senate are expected to be out of session next week. Both chambers are expected to return to work following the inauguration of President Barack Obama on Jan. 21.
There will be 14 new senators and 84 new House members in the new Congress. Some of the newly elelcted members of Congress incorporated increasing credit union member business lending (MBL) authority and other key credit union issues into their campaign platforms. Overall, the Credit Union National Association (CUNA) supported 388 candidates for the House and Senate in November's election, and in 96% of those races the credit union-friendly candidates won.
The return and influx of credit union-friendly candidates could boost MBL legislation progress during this session of Congress, said CUNA Senior Vice President of Political Affairs Richard Gose.
CUNA, the state credit union leagues, credit unions and members of Congress late last year backed MBL cap increase legislation as a way to help small businesses. House (H.R. 1418) and Senate (S. 2231) MBL bills gained strong support, earning 145 and 22 backers, respectively. Both bills will need to be reintroduced in this Congress.
The MBL bills would increase the 12.25%-of-assets credit union member business lending (MBL) cap to 27.5% of assets. CUNA has estimated that the proposed MBL cap increase could inject $13 billion in funds into the economy, creating as many as 140,000 new jobs in the first year following enactment.
Maintaining the credit union tax status, addressing housing finance reform issues, decreasing regulatory burdens faced by credit unions and increasing credit union access to supplemental capital are other key items for CUNA and credit unions during this session of Congress. (See related story: CUNA sets four-pillar legislative agenda for 2013.)