WASHINGTON (9/1/10)--The only reason conservatives should get excited about the U.S. Senate’s pending small business lending bill, blogged Eli Lehrer of The Heartland Institute recently, is because it could include a cost-free credit union provision that would really give the economy a shot in the arm. Lehrer is national director of the Center on Finance, Insurance, and Real Estate at The Heartland Institute, which is a conservative policy think tank located in Chicago. In his posting entitled, “For a Better Stimulus: Free the Credit Unions,” Leherer said that an amendment under consideration that would ease the cap on member business lending “deserves consideration both on its own and as a template for bipartisan action to get the economy moving.” Leherer calls the small business bill “well intentioned,” even the proposed $30 billion in federal aid to small banks who are then to lend more to credit-strapped small businesses. But, he says, he sees a problem: “If more government intervention of any sort would have produced a strong, sustained recovery, we’d already be in the middle of one.” But he also sees a solution: “The (MBL) amendment, proffered by Sen. Mark Udall (D-Colo.), however, is a lot better than the bill as a whole.” The amendment would increase the MBL cap to 27.5% of total assets, up from 12.25%. The blogger says the cap should be even higher because it would “interject billions of dollars of new business credit into the economy” and doesn’t “put a single federal dollar at risk.” He also noted, “The cap has no good reason for existing at all.” He warns that banks oppose the bill “because they don’t want the additional competition.” “But,” he says of the MBL cap increase, “it’s good for the economy.” The Heartland Institute is one of 19 diverse business groups that have formed a coalition in support of increased MBL for credit unions. Others members include the National Association of Realtors, National Small Business Association, League of United Latin American Citizens, National Association for the Self-Employed, and the National Association of Manufacturers. Use the resource link to access the article which ran Aug. 30 in the Frum Forum.