CU Show Of Force On Hill Keeps Tax Talk Muted

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September was indeed credit union month on Capital Hill, with more hundreds of credit union executives descending on Washington for NAFCU'1s annual Congressional Caucus, and more than 1,200 invited to the capitol for CUNA's "Hike the Hill Month."

The lateness of the NAFCU conference-it's usually held in the second week of September--made the congressional speeches superfluous because nothing meaningful will be done in the final weeks of the Congress with respect to the credit union agenda. Usually, speakers are able to hold out hope for some kind of action in the final two months of the Congress.

But this year, the final weeks of the Congress and the approaching elections are being occupied by 9-11, 24-7. That is, legislative proposals purporting to address the shortfalls surrounding the attacks on 9-11 have taken center stage day and night as lawmakers try to pander to voters' fears in the run-up to Nov. 2.

CUNA, with little consideration for the conflict it would have with NAFCU's annual conference, brought in credit union representatives from more than 42 states to lobby Congress on the tax exemption. The month-long lobby helped strengthen the credit union case, reminding lawmakers of the importance of the credit union lobby just as they are trying to finish up and go home to campaign for reelection.

Outside of the effort surrounding the passage of HR 1151, six years ago, it was the most powerful credit union lobbying effort ever. If any single lawmaker was thinking about sponsoring a bill to repeal the CU tax exemption, September's show of strength will make them think twice.

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