January 16, 2014

Senate clears $1.1 trillion spending bill

The Senate completed action on a $1.1 trillion spending bill last night, passing and sending the measure to the president by a vote of 72-26.

The president is expected to sign the measure in time to avert a federal government shutdown as the latest temporary funding measure expires.

The package, to fund fiscal 2014 federal operations, includes language reflecting NAFCU's concerns about flood insurance and funding for low-income credit unions' community development efforts.

Cleared by the House earlier this week, the package includes a NAFCU-backed delay in some National Flood Insurance Program premium increases imposed under the 2012 Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act on properties impacted by flood plain remapping. The Senate is expected to take up larger flood insurance delay measures as the next order of business.

The appropriations package also:

  • allows the NCUA Central Liquidity Facility full access to its statutory borrowing authority, which currently totals about $2 billion, to meet credit unions' emergency liquidity needs;
  • provides $1.2 million for technical assistance grants to low-income credit unions from the NCUA Community Development Revolving Loan Fund; and
  • provides $226 million for the Treasury Community Development Financial Institutions Fund.

Congress is heading into a district work period next week and is due to resume work the week of Jan. 27, when it will face a looming debt ceiling deadline. Treasury Secretary Jack Lew says the federal debt limit will be reached Feb. 7.

Lew told lawmakers in December that the government could face a potential default in late February or early March if Congress does not act. The Hillnotes that "Lew has warned that the ‘extraordinary measures' used by Treasury to buy lawmakers more time to make a debt-ceiling deal won't last as long this time."

During the last debt ceiling debate in October, NAFCU President and CEO Dan Berger wrote to congressional leaders and the president to urge action to prevent a federal government default on debt. He highlighted the importance of the debt limit issue for NAFCU members and said even the perception that the debt limit may not be addressed could be dangerous for the economy.