WASHINGTON (11/15/12)--When the full text of H.R.6474 became available Wednesday and the Credit Union National Association (CUNA) identified language within that threatened the federal income tax exemption for federal and state-chartered credit unions, CUNA and the League of Southeastern Credit Unions immediately arranged meetings with the office of the bill's drafter, Rep. Dennis Ross (R-Fla.), and learned an error had been made.
The bill was noticed on Sept. 20 in the Congressional Record but at that time only the bill number and a very generic description was published. There was no further bill text made available until yesterday.
"When we became aware of the specific language in this legislation, we immediately sought a meeting with Rep. Ross's staff," CUNA President/CEO Bill Cheney said Wednesday.
"In the course of our discussions with staff, they indicated emphatically that the inclusion of the credit union tax status was a drafting error--the credit union tax status was intended to be retained, not eliminated," Cheney emphasized.
Unfortunately, Cheney advised credit unions, the rules of the House do not permit the withdrawal or modification of the bill at this time.
However, the congressman's staff assured CUNA changes to bill would be made immediately if the bill sees any movement in the House. With the short remaining legislative calendar, it is considered unlikely that the bill will see action. It would have to be re-introduced next year to be considered, and, based on the congressman's assurances, it would be modified before re-introduction.
Cheney pointed out that Ross is a strong supporter of credit unions and noted that CUNA appreciates the quick clarification his staff has made on this issue.
"This episode is a reminder of the threat that the tax status is under in an environment where Congress is considering comprehensive tax reform. We have been and continue to monitor tax legislation closely; and, we will continue to work closely with policymakers to ensure that the credit union tax status is maintained," Cheney vowed.