ICBA advocacy push continues during lame-duck Congress

By Paul Merski

While the 116th Congress winds down in the coming weeks with its post-election "lame duck" session, ICBA's efforts to pass much-needed economic stimulus measures continue unabated.

Deal or No Deal?

The prospect of lawmakers reaching a deal on another emergency relief package remains an uphill climb. Whereas congressional Democrats advocate passage of a spending package worth more than $1 trillion, Republicans are looking for a more targeted deal closer to $500 billion.

Key Priorities

Congress Capitol Dome

Nevertheless, as laid out in a recent letter to congressional leaders, ICBA continues working to ensure any deal includes the following community bank priorities:

  • Simplifying forgiveness for all PPP loans with an original balance of $150,000 or less to ensure the program's success.
  • Fully forgiving all Economic Injury Disaster Loan Advances to avoid unexpected debts for small businesses, as ICBA Chairman Noah Wilcox and small-business customer Jim Lamke detailed in a recent op-ed on Medium.
  • Excluding PPP loans from regulatory asset thresholds to avoid penalizing lenders for their leadership in responding to the pandemic.
  • Extending Troubled Debt Restructuring and Community Bank Leverage Ratio relief to support local economies.

Grassroots Needed

While ICBA works continuously with Congress to advance these priorities, lawmakers need to hear it straight from their community bank constituents. Community bankers can use ICBA’s Be Heard grassroots action center to send customizable messages to Congress to spread the word on Capitol Hill.

As ICBA notes in its 2020 election analysis and latest Community Bank Briefing webinar, ICBA and community banks are well positioned headed into the 117th Congress. But with these top policy priorities remaining unfinished business, we will continue working to advance them in the remaining weeks of 2020 to help community banks meet the needs of their communities.

Paul Merski is ICBA group executive vice president of congressional relations and strategy.