WASHINGTON (3/2/09)—The U.S. Senate is scheduled to take up an omnibus appropriations bill today that includes language removing the statutory cap on the lending authority of the Central Liquidity Facility (CLF). The bill, approved last week by the House of Representatives, also includes provisions to expand lending in disadvantaged communities by doubling appropriations for the U.S. Treasury Department's Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI) Fund. The Obama administration wants more than $200 million to be available for the CDFI Fund. Another spending measure of interest to credit unions, the National Credit Union Administration’s (NCUA) Community Development Revolving Loan Fund program would get $1 million, available until Sept. 30, 2010, for technical assistance to low-income designated credit unions. Regarding the NCUA’s CLF, in 1981, Congress imposed a $600 million cap. It increased the CLF’s borrowing authority to more than $21 billion during Y2K to provide assurance during the millennium date change; however, in FY2001-2008 the cap has been maintained at $1.5 billion. Last year, the Credit Union National Association (CUNA) worked to get the cap lifted to $41.5 billion in the Continuing Resolution, but that expires on March 6. The Credit Union National Association (CUNA) has a long-standing policy of supporting removal of the cap on CLF’s borrowing authority. The role of the CLF is back-up liquidity provider, compared to the role of the Federal Reserve System’s discount window, which is lender of last resort. The Senate is not expected to vote on the spending bill until later this week and is expected to make changes to the House-passed version. That means the House and Senate will have to meet in conference to hammer out the differences in the bills.