November 10, 2015

Senate passes defense bill with NAFCU-backed study

The Senate on Tuesday voted 91-3 to pass a revised defense authorization bill that provides for a NAFCU-sought study on the reliability of the Defense Manpower Data Center database and annual meetings with stakeholders, including credit unions.

The White House has indicated that President Barack Obama will sign the bill despite disappointment over language dealing with the prison in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

The House is on recess for Veterans Day this week; it approved the bill by a 370-58 vote last week after an earlier version was vetoed by the president.

The bill contains a provision that NAFCU worked on with Reps. Denny Heck, D-Wash, and Steve Stivers, R-Ohio, regarding the DMDC database. The bill will require the Defense Department to submit a report to Congress on the reliability of the database within 60 days of the bill being signed into law. The Defense Department would also be required to report on the accuracy and reliability of the database every six months through Dec. 31, 2020.

In addition, the DMDC would be required to have regular meetings with financial industry stakeholders about the database.

NAFCU began raising concerns about the database when the Defense Department was revising the Military Lending Act rule, which it finalized in July.

The president vetoed an earlier version of the bill because of its use of Overseas Contingency Operations funds to bypass the sequestration caps in the budget. Although that issue has been resolved, the president has highlighted potential issues with the new bill's language on the Guantanamo Bay prison, which would hinder attempts to close it.