'Endless action' in Congress as CUNA sends more than 50 letters on CU issues: Donovan

April 1, 2015
WASHINGTON (4/2/15)--"Endless action" is how CUNA Chief Advocacy Officer Ryan Donovan described the first three months of the 114th Congress, which has seen hearings in both chambers on regulatory relief, patent reform and data security, and more than 54 letters sent by CUNA to lawmakers on those and other topics.

"The first three months of this year have set us up to have a very busy and productive remainder of the year," said Donovan in his weekly "Legislative Update."

"We're going to need credit unions to stay engaged in all these issues, to continue to press data security," he said. "We're hopeful something is going to happen on patent reform; there's a lot going on here, and we need credit unions to be talking to their members about it."

Donovan said several of the nine regulatory relief bills passed by the House Financial Services Committee last month may be taken to the House floor in April, either individually or part of a package. He added that in late April or early May the Senate Banking Committee may likely markup regulatory relief legislation, and CUNA is working to ensure credit unions' priorities are included in those bills.

Also, as merchant data breaches continue to make headlines, Donovan said that CUNA's efforts on that front have developed nicely. Last year was all about getting Congress's attention on merchant data breaches, and the millions of credit union and member contacts CUNA was able to develop have gotten legislators' attention.
"As a result, we're starting to see legislation that doesn't just talk about breach notification requirements--everybody agrees that consumers need to be notified about data breaches--but now we're seeing bills that call for increased (merchant) standards," Donovan said.
He said the bill marked up by the House Energy and Commerce Committee in March doesn't go nearly far enough in calling for increased standards, but it's a step in the right direction. He said a stronger bill could soon be reintroduced in the Senate soon.
Tax reform also remains a high priority for the House Ways and Means and Senate Finance committees, particularly with the Senate Finance Committee setting up working groups to look at aspects of the tax code.
"[Tax reform] might not happen, but we've got to stay engaged, because for us tax reform isn't over until a president signs a tax reform bill" whoever that president is, Donovan said.
He also urged credit unions to file "carefully considered, thoughtful comment letters" on the National Credit Union Administration's revised risk-based capital proposal. CUNA has posted new resources for credit unions composing their comment letters, which are due to the agency by April 27.