Working with a New Congress
This year brought a new Congress and a change in leadership in the U.S. House of Representatives. At NAFCU, our award-winning advocacy team is working closely with new leadership in Congress on both sides of the aisle and we’re continuing to build strong relationships with new and returning lawmakers to tout the credit union difference on Capitol Hill.
NAFCU lobbyists have fostered well-established relationships with Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, who currently serves as Chairman of the Senate Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Committee, as well as new Ranking Member of the committee, Sen. Tim Scott, R-S.C., who also serves on the Senate Finance Committee and Small Business and Entrepreneurship Committee.
The team remains in close contact with Rep. Patrick McHenry, R-N.C., who is the new Chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, and former chairwoman of the committee, Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif., who is set to serve as Ranking Member.
In addition to working directly with lawmakers to ensure credit union voices are heard, the NAFCU Legislative Affairs Team monitors legislation that will impact the industry. In 2023, NAFCU is focusing its time and attention on policies that have the ability to impact credit union growth, so our members can serve more Main Street small businesses and American families. We are also focusing on policies surrounding technology and innovation, regulatory relief, a fair market and level-playing field and data protection. While this may seem like NAFCU is casting a broad net, the association has built a reputation for being one of the most influential financial services trade groups because we advocate fiercely for bills that are beneficial to the industry—and fight back against those that aren’t.
Set to Advance
NAFCU has been vocal in its support of the bipartisan Credit Union Board Modernization Act (CUBMA). This bill, which passed the House swiftly at the end of January – a testament to its broad support – after being reintroduced by Reps. Juan Vargas, D-Calif., and Bill Huizenga, R-Mich., would modify existing language in the Federal Credit Union Act related to the requirement that credit union boards meet once a month. NAFCU will continue to tout how CUBMA would benefit the credit union industry and work with senators to build additional support to get it enacted.
Failure to Launch
In 2022, NAFCU remained a leading voice in the fight against the Credit Card Competition Act (CCCA)—introduced by Sens. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., and Roger Marshall, R-Kansas, in July—which attempted to extend debit interchange routing requirements to credit cards. NAFCU consistently raised concerns about this legislation placing additional regulatory and operational burdens on credit unions and harming consumers.
NAFCU President and CEO Dan Berger was especially vocal on the topic, outlining the negative impacts of imposing any new caps or restrictions on interchange fees in letters to Congress and op-eds published in Real Clear Markets and CUInsight. Berger highlighted that rather than promoting competition as the bill’s misleading name would suggest, the legislation instead promoted increasing the profits of big box retailers at the expense of consumers.
NAFCU’s ardent advocacy against the CCCA successfully kept the legislation out of the 2023 National Defense Authorization Act and the $1.7 trillion omnibus spending package. The financial services industry was united against the unpopular bill and, as a result, it failed to gain traction in Congress. Should this legislation be introduced again in the 118th Congress, you’ll once again see NAFCU fighting on the front lines.
The association will continue to educate lawmakers on the consequences of interchange caps on consumers and fight against any future efforts to advance similar bills.
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NAFCU’s Grassroots Action Center allows credit unions to easily find their polling location, search for local candidates and more. Take advantage of this resource ahead of the upcoming election by visiting www.nafcu.org/grassroots.