Housing Cooperative Bill Receives Additional Support

By R. L. Condra, Vice President for Advocacy, NCBA CLUSA

Last month, Congressman Steve Israel (D-NY) along with 13 other lawmakers introduced a bipartisan supported bill to make housing cooperatives eligible for the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) disaster assistance funding program. Due to the devastation of Hurricane Sandy to many housing cooperatives in the New York and New Jersey areas, we have learned that FEMA recognizes housing cooperatives and condo associations as “business associations” and does not provide disaster assistance as they do for other types of housing such as single-family homes.

FEMA Housing Co-op 350x350FEMA Housing Co-op 350x350NCBA CLUSA is working with Congressman Israel’s office and other members of Congress to pass legislation to change this oversight. This issue has recently caught the attention of national media outlets such as The New York Times and The Washington Post. Additionally, the issue has gained support from two powerful U.S. Senators. On August 1, Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) introduced a companion bill to the House of Representative’s bill.

Read the full Washington Post article

The FEMA issue was featured in an August 16 Washington Post real estate column titled “House Lawyer: In seeking storm relief, condos and co-ops find not all homeowners are equal.” The writer, Benny Kass, makes the point that the misclassification of housing cooperatives by FEMA not only neglects Hurricane Sandy victims, but also affects housing cooperatives in Washington, D.C and other cities across the country when future disasters occur.

Mr. Kass writes, “The storm impacted the Washington area, but fortunately we did not experience the extent of damage and destruction that took place in the Northeast. This does not mean, of course, that those of us who live in this area should be complacent. There are countless condominium and cooperative associations in our area, and they could face the same issues if a storm strikes us more directly next time.”

In the Post article, Congressman Israel explains the need for a better understanding from FEMA on the cooperative model, “A storm does not discriminate where it hits,” Israel said, “and FEMA should not be discriminating what type of homeowners it helps. It seems clear that FEMA’s policy is the result of not understanding the role of co-ops and condos in our community.”

To learn more about the legislative bills, please go to http://thomas.loc.gov/ and type in the bill numbers: S.1480 and H.R. 2887. If you are interested in your member of Congress supporting this legislation, please contact R.L. Condra, NCBA CLUSA Vice President of Advocacy, at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 202-383-5480.

Congressional Appropriations Process Comes to a Grinding Halt

By R.L. Condra, Vice President of Advocacy, NCBA CLUSA
 
2013 US Budget 350x3502013 US Budget 350x350Every year, Congress is responsible for passing appropriations bills to keep the U.S. government operating. These 12 bills which fund everything from highways, education, national parks to the Department of Agriculture Rural Cooperative Development Grant program depend on this process require passage by September 30 of each year to keep the government from shutting down. As in previous years, Congress is not close to passing these bills. This comes on the news of the House’s failure to pass the Transportation and Housing funding bill the week before Congress went on its six week August recess.
 
Of the 12 funding bills, the House of Representatives has passed four bills and the Senate has passed zero. When Congress returns from its August break on September 9, they will have nine working days left to finish the bills, which at this point, would be almost impossible. What does this mean to the average Joe? In the past, when Congress has not been able to finish their work, they would pass a temporary fix called a continuing resolution (also known as a “CR”). The continuing resolution allows the government to operate at the previous year’s funding levels until Congress is able to pass the current appropriation bills.
 
It is uncertain if this Congress will be able to pass a continuing resolution due to their disagreements on spending levels and the debt ceiling. This could lead to a government shutdown that would affect all cooperators and would be the lead story on the nightly news. According to an article by the National Journal, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) was asked whether he thinks Senate Democrats and Republicans could agree on a continuing resolution by the end of the fiscal year on September 30, Reid declined to prognosticate.
 
"Time will only tell. We'll see," he said, adding later that Democrats will not negotiate on the debt ceiling, which he argued is what the Republicans want.
 
"We're not negotiating what we're going to do," Reid said. "The president said he will not negotiate on the debt ceiling, OK? That's what these guys are out here talking about."
 
Stay tuned to CBJonline for updates on the appropriations process. Also, please join us on Wednesday, September 18, 2013 for NCBA CLUSA’s monthly Legislative and Advocacy Update webinar featuring our Capitol Hill experts as they discuss cooperative legislative matters and current issues in Washington.
 

 

POLITICO Features NCBA CLUSA's Work Supporting Credit Union Tax Exemption

David Camp 350x350David Camp 350x350The National Cooperative Business Association CLUSA International (NCBA CLUSA) was featured in POLITICO's Morning Tax column for its advocacy efforts to block the move by big banks and some in Congress to raise taxes and impose new fees on 96 million credit union members who represent 40% of all Americans, yet represent only 6% of assets in financial institutions.

CREDIT UNIONS KEEP UP PRESSURE IN AUGUST. Members of the National Cooperative Business Association CLUSA International released details today of letters sent to members of the Senate Finance and House Ways and Means Committees, pressing for tax reform to retain the tax exemption for credit unions.

"This wise, common sense tax policy enables credit unions to...”

Read more on Politico.com »

NCBA CLUSA to Congress: “Support Credit Union Tax Exemption”

Web February 22 Credit Union LegislationWeb February 22 Credit Union LegislationComprehensive tax reform will be one of the issues that Congress will try to tackle when it returns in September. It is such a priority for Congressional tax committee leaders, that staff are working during the August break to draft a bill for Congress to consider later in the fall. Last week, the National Cooperative Business Association CLUSA International (NCBA CLUSA) sent support letters to each member of the House Ways and Means Committee and the Senate Finance Committee to urge them “to advocate for the retention of the credit union tax exemption during your deliberations on tax reform.”

An excerpt from the letter states that, “NCBA CLUSA represents over 29,000 cooperatives with 120 million consumer-owners across the country… The credit union tax exemption stands as a benefit to all American consumers, not just the 96 million members across the nation. This wise, common sense tax policy enables credit unions to retain their member-focus, in contrast to the for-profit orientation of the commercial banking system. Credit unions earn their tax exemption every day, and we strongly endorse continuing its role in strengthening our financial marketplace.”

“Our discussions with key players on Capitol Hill indicate that there will eventually be a tax reform bill in Congress. NCBA CLUSA will do everything we can to support the advocacy efforts of the Credit Union National Association and the National Association of Federal Credit Unions to protect the credit union tax exemption,” said Mike Beall, President and CEO of the NCBA CLUSA. “We firmly believe the credit union tax exemption is a pro-consumer use of tax policy that translates into real, tangible benefits for the American consumer and the financial marketplace in general.”

NCBA CLUSA stands firmly with the credit unions and will continue to tell Congress, “Don't tax credit unions, and their 96 million members.”

The National Cooperative Business Association CLUSA International (NCBA CLUSA) is the apex association for cooperative businesses in the United States and an international development organization. NCBA CLUSA provides cross-sector education, support, and advocacy that helps co-ops thrive. For nearly 100 years NCBA CLUSA has sought to advance and protect cooperative enterprises, highlighting the impact that cooperatives in bettering the lives of individuals and families. In the last 60 years, NCBA CLUSA has grown its international development portfolio to over $34 million of active programs in 15 countries.

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Call to Action: Tell Your Members of Congress to Support Cooperative Development Funding!


Cooperative Development Centers Need Your Support!

During the Congressional appropriations process, vital funding for the USDA Rural Cooperative Development Grant (RCDG) program was impacted dramatically, and the cooperative community needs to do everything we can NOW to restore it to sufficient levels.

The House of Representatives Agriculture Appropriations bill for fiscal year 2014 eliminates RCDG funding that is critical to the development of cooperatives in rural America. The Senate provides $8.8 million in their funding bill for the program. Without sufficient funding for the RCDG program, cooperative development centers providing hands-on assistance will be unable to operate, and the only existing program in the federal government dedicated to cooperative development would be hindered significantly or possibly eliminated.

As an NCBA CLUSA member and supporter, you have an opportunity to help!

Attached are two letters, one specifically drafted for the House of Representatives and the other for the Senate. Please send the appropriate letter of support to your Representative or Senators and let them know this vital program needs to be saved.
If you would like to share the success of your advocacy efforts on this issue or have any questions, please contact NCBA CLUSA’s Vice President of Advocacy, R.L. Condra at 202.383.5480 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..
Sincerely,

Michael Beall
President and Chief Executive Officer
 
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