Jeff Olson: 2013 GAC in the Rearview Mirror
Every year following the CUNA GAC (Governmental Affairs Conference) I always take a day or two to “decompress”, if you will, from the intensity of the week-long conference. Over the years I have had the privilege of participating in many conferences and professional workshops, but the CUNA GAC is easily one of my favorite events to attend each year. For one, it’s one of the busiest conferences I have ever attended. It is truly a “working conference,” meaning, for Governmental Affairs Political Specialists (GAPS), it’s an intense week of coordinating congressional schedules while Congress is in its’ peak with hearings, meetings and press conferences. In Washington, schedules are always fluid, so coordinating “hill” schedules and last minute revisions with CUAD attendees are on-going. But in the end, it all generally works out.
We had an outstanding Governmental Affairs Conference week. The Dakota credit union delegation numbered 52. My thanks to those of you who made the commitment to go and be active advocates and a special thanks to the many of our members who followed us in the MEMO each day.
The Hill visits were very productive this year. I would rank them easily as some of best in the last five years. Our CUAD advocates were passionate and delivered powerful messages to our congressional leaders about what they do for their members and communities.
I would like to review Bill Cheney’s presentation during the opening of the conference last Monday. Mr. Cheney shared the “Unite for Good” initiative for moving the credit union vision forward.
The message - "Americans choose credit unions as their best financial partner." An opportunity for credit unions and as Mr. Cheney articulated now is the perfect time. We are seeing a values-driven cultural shift in this country that is right in our wheelhouse. People are looking for connections and are drawn to businesses they can trust and that have their best interests at heart— and that my friends, is us - the credit unions!
To learn more about the Unite for Good initiative, visit www.UniteForGood.org
Here are some highlights from our Capitol Hill visits this past week.
In each one of our congressional meetings we discussed the Credit Union Value Proposition – preserving our model and tax exemption status. Our message, a tax on credit unions is a tax on 96 million Americans who use credit unions to conduct financial services.
Regulatory Burdens - Our members shared that every dollar a credit union spends on complying with regulations is a dollar that is not used for the benefit of its members.
This week in Washington -
It’s another busy week in DC as both chambers working in Washington this week.
The Senate is considering pending nominations. Today, and the balance of the week, the House will consider the Department of Defense, Military Construction and Veterans Affairs, and Full-Year Continuing Appropriations Act. No votes are expected in the House on Friday.
Last week, House Financial Services Committee Chairman Hensarling announced that in addition to the hearings noted above, his Committee would hold the following hearings in March:
March 13 at 10:00 a.m. – The Housing and Insurance Subcommittee will hold a hearing on the competitive advantages the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) has relative to private mortgage insurers and how those advantages contribute to the crowding out of private capital in housing finance.
March 14 at 10:00 a.m. – The Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee will hold a hearing on the Financial Stability Oversight Council (FSOC) and its role in determining which institutions are “Too Big to Fail.”
March 19 at 10:00 a.m. – The Financial Services Committee will hold a hearing on the Federal Housing Finance Agency.
March 20 at 10:00 a.m. – The Financial Institutions and Consumer Credit Subcommittee will hold a hearing on the growing burden of federal regulations on small financial institutions across the country.