Coming to GAC? Get Ready to Work
If you’re coming to town this weekend for the GAC, I want you to know that we’re counting on you to help us bring the member business lending bill across the finish line. I promise you it won’t be easy – in fact, you’ll probably leave DC quite frustrated – but I know we can move the ball if we put it in your hands.
The Senate is presently considering a bill that is generously being referred to as a jobs bill. In reality what this legislation does is relax a set of investor protections in the hopes that businesses will use the savings they receive from reduced regulatory compliance to hire new workers. No one has estimated how many jobs this might create. Yet, the bill passed the House of Representatives with almost 400 votes, and the Senate is poised to act perhaps as soon as next week.
What better time to have 4,000 credit union advocates in Washington, DC?
It is not going to be easy getting the MBL bill included in this “jobs” package. Even though we have made an indisputable case for raising the MBL cap, we have a number of things working against us.
First, there is a strong desire among Senate Republicans to simply take up the House-passed and pass it as is. (It did pass with almost 400 votes, afterall). This means the Democratic leadership will be under pressure to simply move it along. The faster this bill moves through the Senate, the harder it will be to get attached.
Second, if we were successful in getting the amendment considered, we would need to secure 60 votes for its passage. This is not an impossible task; but in a world in which many Senators don’t believe the MBL bill will come to a vote, they are sometimes reluctant to show their cards unless they have to. While we have confidence that we have, if not sixty, close to sixty votes, no one really knows. Perhaps this is why the Independent Community Bankers of America and the American Bankers Association have recently stepped up their effort to block the MBL bill. (The ABA ran expensive radio ads on the very popular Washington radio station WTOP).
We have very little ability to affect the first challenge – slowing down the bill. However, there is a group of Democratic Senators trying to do just that.
The second challenge is completely within our hands. We can get sixty votes (and more) on this legislation. We’ve laid the ground work to get there. Everyone in Washington is talking about Mark Udall and his “quixotic” bid to – gasp – allow credit unions to help small businesses. But to get there, we need to turn up the pressure. Many don’t believe there is going to be a vote, but we continue to push.
If your Senator is not with us, it’s time to ask them why not? If they tell you they aren’t with us because it’s not going to come up for a vote, make sure they don’t have any policy concerns. When they tell you they have no policy concerns (or after you’ve addressed their concerns), let them know small business owners and credit union members throughout their state expect their vote.
The Udall bill would help create 140,000 new jobs in the first year by allowing credit unions to lend an additional $13 billion to small businesses at no cost to taxpayers… and the only folks blocking this bill are the banks that bailed on small business during the crisis, had to be bailed out by taxpayers, were begged to lend to small businesses, and refused that call. We can get this done.
The day of reckoning is approaching. With your help next week, we’ll bring that day closer.