Removing Barriers Blog

CUNA Supports Budget Agreement
Posted February 14, 2019 by CUNA Advocacy

This week, the House of Representatives and the Senate are considering a budget deal to avoid another government shutdown, as well as fund the federal government through the end of fiscal year 2019 (September 30, 2018).  It is likely that both houses of Congress will pass the compromise legislation, the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2019 (H.J.Res. 31), and that the president will sign it into law. 

Included in the package is the Financial Services and General Government Appropriations Act for Fiscal Year 2019.  This legislation includes CUNA-requested funding of $250 million for the Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI) Fund.  This account is fully funded at Fiscal Year 2018 levels, an achievement in this austere fiscal climate. 

This legislation also includes CUNA-requested funding of $2 million for the Community Development Revolving Loan Fund.  This is same amount received by the Fund in Fiscal Year 2018 levels, also a significant achievement in these tight fiscal times. 

The bill also funds other accounts of importance to credit unions, including: 

  • $31 billion loan volume cap for the Small Business Administration’s (SBA) 7(a) program, which allows the government to guarantee up to 85% of loans, with the guaranteed portion not counting against credit unions’ cap on member business lending.  The loan cap in this bill is $2 billion more than Fiscal Year 2018’s enacted level of $29 billion. 
  • $7.5 billion loan cap for the SBA’s 504 loan program, which is used for long-term, fixed-rate financing on major fixed assets, such as equipment and real estate.  Credit unions also participate in this loan program. 
  • $12 million for the Cooperative Development Program (CDP), essential to furthering the worldwide development programs at the World Council of Credit Unions (WOCCU). 

The bill’s report language contains language sought by CUNA, including: 

Page 35 of House Report 115-704: 

In this report of the House Appropriations Committee’s Commerce, Justice, and Science Appropriations Act for Fiscal Year 2019, CUNA worked with the Committee to include language regarding Department of Justice guidance on Americans with Disabilities website accessibility.  The language states, “The Committee expects the Department to clarify standards for website accessibility requirements pursuant to the Americans with Disabilities Act in fiscal year 2019.  The Committee recognizes the confusion caused by a lack of uniform website accessibility standards.  The lack of clear requirements disadvantages small businesses that provide essential services for our communities.” 

Pages 17 and 40 of House Report 115-829: 

In the report of the House Appropriations Committee’s State and Foreign Operations Appropriations Act for Fiscal Year 2019, CUNA worked to secure the inclusion of language that states, “The Secretary of State is encouraged to expand opportunities for small businesses or cooperatives to compete for State Department contracts.”  Further, the report states, “The committee continues to be concerned about the difficulty with which companies, including small, minority-owned, and disadvantaged business enterprises; universities; and non-governmental organizations have in navigating the acquisition and assistance process at USAID. The committee expects that, to the maximum extent practicable, the USAID Administrator shall ensure that the United States’ small, minority-owned, veteran, and disadvantaged business enterprises and faith-based organizations fully participate in the provision of goods and services especially if they have a proved track record of promoting local self-reliance and democratic governance.” 

Page 45 of House Report 115-792: 

In the report of the House-passed Financial Services and General Government Appropriations Act for Fiscal Year 2019, CUNA worked with the Committee to secure the inclusion of language that states, “Recently, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit found that aspects of the FCC’s most recent interpretation of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) in 2015 were arbitrary and capricious. The Committee urges the FCC to clarify the aspects of its 2015 interpretation that were struck down by the court, including reviewing the definition of an automatic dialer and how businesses should treat reassigned numbers.”