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News Now

Washington
Robust lame duck brings CU opportunities CUNA predicts
WASHINGTON (11/8/12)—Remarking on the results of the Nov. 6 federal elections, Credit Union National Association Executive (CUNA) Vice President John Magill said Wednesday that CUNA anticipates a  lively post-election congressional session with many opportunities to shine the light on credit union legislation.

"We anticipate a robust lame duck session.  We are launching a massive, grassroots Hike the Hill event just as lawmakers return for the post-election session.  And, with the number of lingering, must-pass legislative items pending there will be many vehicles to serve as an engine for credit union legislation," Magill said, describing the post-election environment.

The grassroots event noted by Magill is the National Hike the Hill that will take place on Nov. 27 and 28. Advocacy for credit union member business lending (MBL) cap increase bills in the U.S. Senate and House will be the main focus of these visits.

"In some senses this has been a 'status quo' election, with the majority parties in the House and Senate, and leadership in the White House, remaining the same once a new session of Congress begins in January," Magill explains. He adds that this fact also favors action on credit unions issues.

"It means there is no rationale for holding off action for the next year on pending priority legislative items hoping for different outcomes.  And, MBL legislation, as recently as this week, was identified by Senate leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.)  as one of his 26  'unfinished business' items for the year," Magill notes.

Magill has noted that CUNA is eyeing "a number of good vehicles that MBLs could hitch a ride on." (News Now Nov. 6)

For instance, both parties will have to work to address the so-called "fiscal cliff" via a combination of tax increases and public spending cuts is one of the largest political priorities on the horizon. If legislators fail to compromise on these spending and tax issues by year end, $1.2 trillion in deficit reduction moves will be initiated on Jan. 2.

There are also appropriations bills, various tax extenders, and the Farm Bill, which expired on Sept. 30,  that need to be addressed by Congress.

"The fact of the matter is, instead of having a one-week (lame duck) session, it's likely that they'll be in for several weeks," Magill says and adds that the longer Congress is in session, the more issues can be addressed.

Another important thing, Magill notes is that there will be changes next year. "While the dominant parties remain in the House and Senate come January, some of the faces will change and that could bring a new dynamic to credit union issues."


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