Legislative Update with Jay Kruse
by Jay Kruse
Chief Advocacy Officer
3/17/2020

Good Morning!

I hope everyone is taking the needed precautions during this unprecedented COVID19 pandemic. If you’re like me, you probably have more questions than there seem to be answers, despite the nonstop emails and updates on this ongoing crisis. If you are looking for some real-time data on what is happening with the Coronavirus outbreak, this is a great source: www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/.

We are all aware of the social distancing requests as well as the many precautionary measures that can be taken to try to keep the things around us as clean and disinfected as possible, but I want to make sure you are aware of some of the actions that are being taken on the federal legislative advocacy front to help with the relief. Financial services are essential services in a crisis, and we know you're focused on how to help your members.

What’s happening in Congress.   

Over the weekend, the House passed a bipartisan Coronavirus relief bill, H.R. 6201, Families First Coronavirus Response Act, and the Senate is expected to take-up the legislation today. Last week, CUNA wrote a letter to House and Senate appropriators detailing the ways credit unions can provide assistance to individuals and small business to aid in the relief efforts. The letter recommended an emergency infusion of $300 million to the Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI) Fund and $3 million to the Community Development Revolving Loan Fund (CDRLF), separate and apart from fiscal year 2021 funding.  By offering tailored resources and innovative programs that invest federal dollars alongside private sector capital, the CDFI Fund serves mission-driven financial institutions that take a market-based approach to supporting economically disadvantaged communities. The request for "supplemental" funding, means any funds received would be in addition to any funding Congress appropriates as part of the traditional, annual appropriations process.   

Congress annually considers several appropriations measures, which provide discretionary funding for numerous activities, such as, national defense, education, and homeland security – as well as general government operations. The federal government has often needed supplemental appropriations, sometimes referred to an "emergency" appropriations. Natural disaster funding and additional military spending have typically been included in such emergency, supplemental appropriations. We will keep you updated as the legislation progresses through Congress.

CUNA/Nussle letter to President Trump.

CUNA’s President/CEO, Jim Nussle, sent a letter to the White House Monday regarding “statutory and regulatory accommodations that need to be implemented to ensure that credit unions can continue to meet the financial services needs of their members impacted by the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).” In the letter Nussle thanked the President for his leadership while also providing a list of recommendations and requests to aid in the relief and help ensure economic stability during the crisis. The entire letter, including the full list of requests can be found here.

Member Activation Program (MAP) COVID template.

As credit unions look to communicate with their members about this public health crisis, MAP has prepared a template that you can use to educate and update members on this critical issue. As is the case with any MAP template, you just need to alter the text as you see fit to match the situation facing your credit union. This template is meant to help guide you in your outreach, whether this is your first communication or third. You can find out more here.

If you have questions, concerns, or feedback regarding these or any other advocacy issues, please do not hesitate to contact me. Have a great week and stay well!

 

 

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