WASHINGTON (3/18/10)—The U.S. Senate yesterday passed a $17.6 billion jobs package, a bill that tackles tax provisions and which is expected to be one in a series of measures to create employment opportunities. The focus on jobs creation has been pivotal in gaining more support on Capitol Hill for legislation that would increase the credit union member business lending (MBL) cap to 25% of assets, up from the current 12.25% limit. The Credit Union National Association (CUNA) estimates that the increase could create as many as 108,000 new jobs and result in $10 billion in new business loans through credit unions in the first year after enactment. “CUNA, the leagues and credit unions have made significant progress over the last several weeks, which has led to more than 100 MBL co-sponsors in the House and 11 in the Senate,” noted CUNA Senior Vice President of Legislative Affairs John Magill. He added that there is growing recognition that MBL language would be a good fit for future jobs bills, as illustrated by a recent endorsement by Sen. Kristin Gillibrand (D-N.Y.). Gillibrand, earlier this year, said the MBL legislation "would free up lending at not-for-profit credit unions in every corner of America to small businesses" and is necessary "if we're going to create new jobs and rebuild our economy for the long term." She was speaking at Long Island, N.Y.-based Bethpage FCU. Gillibrand called the Senate MBL bill, the Small Business Lending Enhancement Act (S. 2919) "common-sense legislation" that would "give small businesses more of the capital they need to get off the ground, grow and get thousands of Americans back to work." The similar House bill is H.R. 3380, the Promoting Lending to America's Small Businesses Act. CUNA’s Magill said that CUNA continues its advocacy drive, aware that the Congress will continue to discuss job creation legislation as the year wears on. “CUNA will continue to work to get MBL legislation on one of those legislative vehicles." Richard Gose, CUNA’s senior vice president of political affairs, urged credit unions to continue to work with legislators to convince them of the importance of including MBLs in jobs legislation as a way to create jobs and increase credit to small businesses at no cost to the taxpayer.