Removing Barriers Blog

Credit Unions Off to a Fast Start During First Week of Congress
Posted January 08, 2017 by CUNA Advocacy

Credit union advocates wasted no time last week making sure our 2017 agenda was front and center in Congress, and the momentum we are generating is crucial in a year that presents incredible opportunity and challenges.  

When Congress convened last Tuesday, 53 new House Members and seven new Senators were sworn into office.  They and the returning members of Congress were met by CUNA's advocacy team and advocates from several state credit union leagues.  These members were among the first this year to hear about the need to return to common-sense regulation for credit unions.  It is a message that was reinforced by a letter from Jim Nussle to all Hill lawmaker offices outlining credit union priorities in 2017, and an op-ed that I published in the American Banker.

2017 provides us a lot of opportunities to advance an advocacy agenda that improves the operating environment for credit unions, but it also presents significant challenges.  Now more than ever, we need to work together to make sure our message is being delivered consistently and it's being heard loud and clear.  That is why all of the advocates from CUNA, the Leagues, our outside consultants and others who represent credit unions in Washington convened what we call our "Washington Representatives" meeting last Thursday, to discuss our agenda for 2017.  We wanted to make sure we were all on the same page as we enter the critical first weeks of this historic Congress. It was a fantastic meeting that sets us up nicely as we head into the year.  

While we work to advance our Campaign for Common-Sense Regulation, we are also mindful that we must remain engaged in one of Congress's top priorities:  tax reform.  It is clear that we are going to have to walk and chew gum at the same time as efforts to bring about comprehensive tax reform accelerate to an amazing speed on Capitol Hill.  Jim had a productive meeting with Representative Peter Roskam (R-IL), a credit union champion, on Wednesday and on Friday, Roskam was named Chairman of the House Ways and Means Subcommittee on Tax Policy, the Subcommittee that has jurisdiction over the credit union federal income tax status in the context of comprehensive tax reform.  In recent weeks, we've had a number of positive meetings with other policymakers ranging from House Speaker Ryan to House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Brady to Ranking Member Neal. Even as our agenda is acutely focused on common-sense regulation, we will not let our guard down with respect to protecting the tax status.

We have a lot of momentum right now.  There is a lot of hope for this new Congress and the change in administration.  We must stick together, work together, and advocate together in order to succeed in our advocacy efforts.  We're off to a great start in 2017!