NDAA Passes House Without CUNA-opposed Exemption Expansion

The House last week passed the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for fiscal year 2020 without any language expanding the Department of Defense’s (DOD) discretionary authority to waive the certain costs for land leases and fees.

Currently the DOD has authority to do so for credit unions, and CUNA, leagues and the Defense Credit Union Council (DCUC) have engaged with House policymakers since last year’s NDAA, which would have granted banks unconditional, rent-free access to military installations.

The House Armed Services Committee passed the NDAA in June without the credit union-opposed provision. CUNA sent a letter for the record of the markup and selected state leagues reached out to their members serving on the committee to call for the rejection of any language that would expand the Department of Defense’s (DoD) authority to exempt financial institutions from certain costs on military installations. The NJCUL contacted Armed Services Committee members from New Jersey, Reps. Donald Norcross (D-1), Andy Kim (D-3) and Mikie Sherrill (D-11). Kim and Sherrill have defense-related credit unions in their districts.

“We’re pleased CUNA, league and DCUC engagement resonated with House members as this bill was drafted, introduced, marked up and now passed the House without any inclusion of language expanding rent-free access to military bases,” said CUNA President/CEO Jim Nussle. “Credit unions’ have a legacy of more than 70 years of service to military members and their families. We look forward to engaging further as this bill goes to conference committee to ensure the final version is free of any language that would change the DOD’s current exemption authority.”

The Senate version of the NDAA, which passed the upper chamber in June, contains language allowing for potential expansion of the DOD’s exemption, but only for financial institutions that meet the same standards of credit unions eligible for the exemption.

CUNA will continue work with Leagues and DCUC to engage lawmakers as the bill moves into conference, advocating to ensure that the House language is incorporated into the final bill.