Week ahead: More uncertainty after Ruth Bader Ginsburg's death

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Credit union priorities in Washington could get a shakeup from the death of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

While credit unions have had little direct interaction with the Supreme Court in recent years — including narrowly avoiding a hearing over field of membership this summer — Ginsburg was on the court when banks and credit unions battled over multiple common bond in the late 1990s. Credit unions lost that case in a 5-4 ruling, with Ginsburg siding with the majority against the industry. That suit, however, ultimately led to the passage of the Credit Union Membership Access Act the following year, which ushered in the modern credit union era.

Both chambers of Congress are in session this week and next, but after that lawmakers will leave town until after the election. Ginsburg’s death has thrown the legislature’s schedule “in a little bit of flux,” said Ryan Donovan, chief advocacy officer at the Credit Union National Association, but clarity on that should come sometime this week.

Still, several hearings of interest to the industry are scheduled for this week, including a Wednesday meeting of the Senate Commerce Committee on the need for a data privacy law, and multiple hearings on the Paycheck Protection Program and loan forgiveness.

Given the timing and the jockeying over whether or not a replacement justice can — or should — be confirmed before the inauguration in January, it’s unclear whether Kyle Hauptman’s nomination to the National Credit Union Administration board will come to a vote before the full Senate prior to the election.

With Election Day just six weeks from Tuesday, CUNA is preparing an advertising blitz for a variety of candidates who support the industry as part of its ongoing $7 million spending.

“We’re going ot be leaning in in really targeted ways to try to move swing voters toward pro-credit union candidates — champions that are in tight races,” said Trey Hawkins, CUNA’s chief political officer. That includes digital ads on platforms like Hulu, YouTube, Facebook and others, along with direct mail targeting independent swing voters and credit union households in key districts.

Lastly, Monday also marks the kick off of Credit Union Journal’s annual Best Credit Unions to Work For package. Content related to that will appear throughout the coming week.

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Law and regulation SCOTUS Election 2020 Paycheck Protection Program Data privacy