A strong showing by credit union-backed candidates on Election Day could lead to legislative achievements, according to CUNA officials.
Among the 388 congressional candidates supported by the Credit Union Legislative Action Council, a federal political action committee, 96% were victorious—including 26 of the 27 senate races.
“It really was a great day for credit unions overall,” CUNA President/CEO Bill Cheney said during a conference call with credit union leaders. “It says a lot about our potential for success in the lame duck session.”
The wins could pay off in an upcoming legislative session prior to when the new Congress takes over next year, says Cheney. Congressional leaders have promised a vote on CUNA’s top-priority Credit Union Small Business Lending Enhancement Act (SB 2231/HR 1418).
“This is our last best chance to do it [this session],” Cheney says. “I know one thing for sure about our member business lending [MBL] bill: If we quit we lose, but if we fight we can get this done. And none of us want to come back in January and start over on this.”
The legislation, which would increase the credit union member business lending cap from 12.25% to 27.5% of assets for well-capitalized credit unions, would help small businesses and the national economy, CUNA reports.
Later this month, credit union leaders from across the country will descend on Washington, D.C., for the National MBL Hike the Hill (Nov. 27-28) to advocate for the MBL bill directly.
“Our challenge is to get the attention of senators to urge them to vote on our bill, preferably as part of a package, then move it over to the House for what we hope will be quick action,” Cheney says. “We can’t do it without your help. That is why we need to you here for Hike the Hill.”
The lame duck session will be “robust” says Ryan Donovan, CUNA’s senior vice president of legislative affairs. And credit unions have a good opportunity to push through the MBL bill, which was introduced by Sen. Mark Udall (D-Colo.)
“The ask is pretty simple,” Donovan says. “‘Will you support the Udall bill and ask leadership to move it toward enactment?’”
Regardless of how a particular senator or representative feels about the legislation, it is important for credit unions leaders to fight for the bill during Hike the Hill, according to CUNA officials.
“If this thing starts to take off—and I think it will—that is the momentum we need to push it across the line,” says Cheney.