CUs See Renewed Traction on NDAA Following POLITICO Article, Call-to-Action Continues

When the Capitol Hill-focused publication POLITICO published an interview with CUNA Chief Advocacy Officer Ryan Donovan discussing a narrowly discussed section in the FY 2020 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), offices across Congress took notice.

The section in question, Section 2821 of the Senate-passed version of the NDAA (S.1790), would expand to certain banks an exception that credit unions currently have granting rent-free access to military installations in exchange for their continued mission and structure as not-for-profit financial cooperatives.

“As soon as that article was published, our advocacy team was getting calls from offices in nearly every state wanting to know what this issue was about,” said CUNA Deputy Chief Advocacy Officer Eli Joseph. “It speaks to just how meaningful the bond is between and credit union and their elected representatives, and it really underscores just how important it is for Leagues and individual credit unions to make calls and host meetings with those officials to reinforce the credit union difference and advocate on these important issues.”

CUNA/League advocacy helped ensure no such provision appears in the House-passed version of the bill, and credit unions have engaged with lawmakers in both chambers to keep the provision from the final bill.

Credit union professionals, volunteers and members are asked to visit the CUNA/League-system Grassroots Action Center to email or Tweet their members of Congress encouraging them to reject the Section 2821 and listing why it would be detrimental to credit unions, members and consumers.

Credit union advocates willing to go a step further are asked to contact NJ conferees’ offices directly:

CUNA and the state leagues wrote to House and Senate Armed Services Committee leaders and members in early August to urge the conference committee reject the inclusion of Section 2821. The NJCUL has also contacted Reps. Andy Kim (D-3), Donald Norcross (D-1), Frank Pallone (D-6) and Mikie Sherrill (D-11) who were named House conferees. Kim, Norcross and Sherrill serve on the House Armed Services Committee.

The letters note that credit unions’ nature as not-for-profit financial cooperatives means “credit unions on military bases are focused on ensuring the financial readiness of America’s service members. The credit union mission and structure mean funds are reinvested in the bases and the military communities that they operate in through lower rates, better products and more responsive services for our servicemembers.”

CUNA and the state leagues successfully fought against inclusion of a similar provision in last year’s NDAA.