WASHINGTON – The U.S. Congress is in recess during this short Thanksgiving week, but CUNA is preparing to continue its work on tax reform and other issues once lawmakers return.
House members are scheduled to return Dec. 2, and their target 2013 adjournment date is Dec. 13. Members of the Senate are set to return to Washington on Dec. 9. The Senate has not set a target adjournment date.
Senate tax reform documents released last week addressed international tax reform, tax administration, and tax accounting rules, but not credit unions. However, additional components that would round out a broader reform effort could be released before the end of the year, according to CUNA.
The next steps are not immediately clear, but the immediate future of tax reform is linked closely to the outcome of the budget conference committee, the debt ceiling, and the appropriations process. The House seems to be waiting to see the results of discussions between the Senate and House budget committee chairs before it acts on tax reform. The budget conference committee has a "deadline" of Dec. 13.
A budget agreement, if reached, could result in the setting of targets, guidelines, or instructions for tax-writers to follow in reform legislation. An agreement might also facilitate bi-partisan agreement on key areas of tax reform. That scenario may be a long shot with just a few weeks to go in the legislative year, and the House will likely wait until early 2014 to take any action on tax reform.
Other items CUNA and state leagues continue to watch include Senate housing finance reform legislation that could be introduced in December and marked up in January or February; the Credit Union Share Insurance Fund Parity Act (H.R. 3468), which could be a candidate for the suspension calendar before the end of the year; and the Privacy Notice Modernization Act of 2013 (S.635), which could be considered in the Senate before year’s end.
Meanwhile, the nationwide Don’t Tax My Credit Union grassroots advocacy campaign continues with CUNA, the state leagues, and credit unions across the nation breaking all previous Call-to-Action records.
As of the first week of November, CU advocates already had initiated nearly 1.2 million Capitol Hill lawmaker contacts including letters, emails, toll-free calls, and Twitter messages.
CUs are engaging members through social media and other means; many are using their own Web sites to encourage members to get more information about the tax status campaign by going to the Don’t Tax My Credit Union Web site.
Examples of what some credit unions from around the country are doing are available here.
CUNA’s Tax Advocacy Toolkit is available here.
New Jersey has generated nearly 10,000 contacts targeting the Garden State’s 14-member delegation, but NJCUL Director of Government Affairs says, “it’s not enough.”
“This is a game of numbers, and it’s critical we keep the pressure on,” he said. “We have to continue to generate as many contacts as possible. Ideally, every one of our 3,000-plus volunteers and professionals across the state would take a few minutes to generate additional emails and tweets weekly, if not daily. It’s as easy as sipping your morning coffee, and there’s no reason we can’t double our contacts in the next few weeks,” he continued.
“Grassroots fatigue or resting on our laurels is our worst enemy,” he added. “The bankers are out there in force and are not letting up. We need to counter their efforts at every turn,” he concluded.