Expect Continued Legislative Gridlock

Conventional wisdom suggests Congress will attempt comprehensive tax reform after the 2012 election.

March 19, 2012

Little legislative progress took place in 2011—and in 2012, the gridlock could be even worse, Ryan Donovan, CUNA’s senior vice president of legislative affairs, writes in the 2012-2013 Credit Union Environmental Scan (E-Scan).

Donovan pens the legislative chapter in the annual CUNA report, which credit unions use as part of their strategic planning.

Although the legislative environment isn’t expected to change much in 2012, he says a number of weighty issues face Congress, many of which have a direct impact on credit unions and their members.

“Even if these issues aren’t resolved in 2012, Congress will resolve them sooner or later,” Donovan says. “Credit unions can influence the outcome by remaining engaged in the legislative process.”

Congress, for example, continues to struggle with deficit reduction, posing a potential threat to the credit union tax status. In addition, housing finance reform and cyber security improvements sit near the top of the congressional agenda.

And, Donovan says, credit unions have their own agenda:

  • Increasing the member business lending cap;
  • Allowing supplemental forms of capital; and
  • Pursuing legislation to reduce regulatory burden.

“Conventional wisdom suggests Congress will attempt comprehensive tax reform after the 2012 election, though some hold out hope that Congress will tackle this before that,” Donovan says. “Whenever Congress turns to this issue, it will be critical for credit unions to defend the tax status by reminding Congress and the public of the value we bring to consumers by virtue of the tax exemption.”

Visit the E-Scan website for more information.