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CUNA underscores public policy behind tax status to lawmakers
WASHINGTON (1/29/13)--Credit Union National Association President/CEO Bill Cheney has had at least 20 meetings recently with federal lawmakers and those meetings have underscored that legislators have a "fairly broad understanding about the public policy reasons for the credit union tax-exemption," Cheney said Monday.

"CUNA has had very positive discussions about the need to protect the credit union tax status," Cheney reported. No legislator CUNA has spoken with has suggested that the credit union tax status is currently on the table as a tax reform or spending issue. However, Cheney emphasized, none have suggested that CUNA should be anything but vigilant on this key issue as tax reform talks move forward and all sorts of ideas are thrown into the discussions.

Preserving the tax status of credit unions is CUNA's top priority and will be the number one issue during CUNA's upcoming Governmental Affairs Conference, which will be held Feb. 24-28. Debt and tax discussions are scheduled to be held on Capitol Hill around March 1 and Cheney said he "could not think of a better time for credit union supporters to be in Washington, in force."

Overall, Cheney said, it has "been interesting to say the least to hear what's on the minds of members and how credit unions are viewed."

CUNA has also found broad agreement on the need to reduce the regulatory burden on credit unions and other smaller financial institutions. "While no one thinks Dodd-Frank will be repealed, many expressed support for efforts moderating its excesses along the lines of last year's CUNA-backed exam fairness bill to scale back regulatory barriers," he said.

Meanwhile on Capitol Hill, the Senate is in session this week and the House is in recess. The Senate is expected to begin consideration of debt ceiling legislation approved last week by the House, and attend to other matters.

CUNA Senior Vice President of Legislative Affairs Ryan Donovan said the Senate Banking Committee could hold its organizational meeting on Feb. 14, and conduct an oversight hearing on Dodd-Frank implementation on the same day. However, he noted, the committee has not released an official schedule.

The House Financial Services Committee is set up and ready to begin its work soon, and could soon take on Consumer Financial Protection Bureau issues. That committee is also set to hear Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke's regular "Humphrey-Hawkins" testimony in the coming weeks.

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