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Whats next in Congress
WASHINGTON (5/27/09)—Though many pressing economic issues were addressed by the recent passage of mortgage and credit card reforms, finance should likely remain a focus for the 111th Congress during this summers’ work periods. The U.S. Congress is currently out of session for a Memorial Day District Work Session and will return next week. Both House and Senate then recess on or about June 29 for a July Fourth break. However, according to the Credit Union National Association’s Ryan Donovan, regulatory restructuring could become a frequent topic of discussion for both House and Senate committees during the work periods on Capitol Hill. While the exact makeup of such legislation cannot be predicted, some regulatory changes could see action on the House and Senate floors as early as September, Donovan said. House members may soon hold hearings on H.R. 1479, the Community Reinvestment Modernization Act of 2009, which, as currently written, would broaden the reach of Community Reinvestment Act requirements to more entities, including credit unions. The bill, which was introduced by Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-Texas) earlier this month, has been referred to the House Financial Services Committee and the House Rules Committee. CUNA continues to monitor any action on this issue. In other matters, although the full content of a bill is not known at this time, portions of an upcoming financial services appropriations bill may also be of interest to credit unions. A more immediate issue that will unquestionably impact credit unions is the confirmation of potential National Credit Union Association (NCUA) Chairman Debbie Matz, which should occur later this summer. Matz, who was selected for nomination by President Barack Obama late last week, has held prior positions as a NCUA board member and as executive vice president and chief operating officer of Suitland, Md.'s Andrews FCU. On a broader schedule, Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) has announced plans to draft a bill that would lift the member business lending (MBL) cap for credit unions. Rep. Brad Sherman (D-Calif.) has also come out in favor of lifting the MBL cap, and recently stated that he'd support allowing credit unions to issue alternative capital, another move that would free up credit unions to grant more loans to their members.


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