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This week in Congress
WASHINGTON (5/17/11)—The congressional calendar has taken an unusual turn this week with the Senate in session while the House is on recess. Senate floor time will be used to consider various nominations as well as legislation eliminating tax subsidies for oil and gas companies. There is not much on the calendar this week of specific interest to credit unions, but, more generally, it is possible that the Senate will begin the budget process—though budget votes are not expected this early. Another major bill expected to be considered before the Senate recesses for a Memorial Day District Work Break on May 27 is the reauthorization of the USA Patriot Act. The House returns next Monday and will be in session until June 3. With the House out of session, committee meetings with relevance to credit unions are relatively sparse, noted Ryan Donovan Monday. Donovan is vice president of legislative affairs for the Credit Union National Association (CUNA). The Senate Banking Committee will hold hearings during the week on the Export-Import Bank, the state of the securitization market, and public transportation. On Thursday, the Senate Small Business Committee will hold a hearing on the implementation of the Small Business Jobs Act of 2010. Also on Thursday, the Senate Commerce Committee will hold a hearing on consumer privacy and protection in the mobile marketplace. CUNA, the leagues and credit unions continue to work closely with Senate lawmakers to identify an appropriate time and appropriate vehicle for a vote on Sen. Jon Tester’s interchange amendment. That amendment would delay the Federal Reserve Board’s implementation of a Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform Act provision that limits the fee debit card issuers can charge merchants for the use of the card system. CUNA’s grassroots action alert has generated approximately 320,000 communications to federal lawmakers urging a delay to “stop, study, and start over” on the interchange provision.


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