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Post-Election Assessment of Microfinance

Thanks to Susan Brown for this article.

On Thursday November 10, 2016, Opportunity Financial Network (OFN) offered a webinar to discuss the impact of the election on the CDFI industry and present their plan to engage the new Administration and 115th Congress.

“Regardless of the vote you cast yesterday, one thing is certain,” said their email, “the American people are tired of not being able to move their families and their communities forward. They want change.”


Here are some points from the webinar:

  • Donald Trump does not have a legislative history which makes it hard to know how he will respond to federal programs and appropriations.
  • Trump’s legislative priorities are tax reform, health care, trade and transportation.
  • The leadership of key congressional and senate committees will change. OFN will focus on the Appropriations Committees of both houses, particularly the Financial Services and General Government subcommittees that oversee CDFI funding. For example, OFN is hoping to find receptivity to sustained CDFI funding from Tom Graves, a representative from Georgia who is likely to be the House FSGG chair and has a background in small business.
  • Currently a continuing resolution is in place to allow federal funding, as Congress has not passed a 2017 budget. It is hard to predict whether a budget will be passed before Trump becomes President. If Congress waits until he is sworn in, it is possible a Trump Administration would want to make changes in the current budget to better reflect its priorities.
  • Expect new policies on the debt ceiling, tax reform and appropriations. For example, on the campaign trail, Trump proposed a reduction in corporate tax rates which would be paid for by eliminating certain tax deductions.

Here are a couple of big take aways:

  • Expect to fight for sustained funding. In 2000, when Bush won the presidency, CDFI funding dropped during his term from $118 million to $54 million.
  • Decisions will be made in the first few months of the new Administration. There are a lot of newly elected representatives and senators. Reach out to them right now with information, testimonials, pictures, videos of successful CDFI borrowers. California has a new senator – Senator-elect Kamala Harris and four new representatives: Ro Khanna (D-CA-17-Silicon Valley); Jimmy Panetta (D-CA-20 – Monterey and Santa Cruz), Salud Carbajal (D-CA-24 – Santa Barbara, SLO), Lou Correa (D-CA-46 – Orange County). Contact them at these links now.
  • Grid lock at the federal level makes state advocacy more important than ever.
  • OFN scheduled an early Advocacy Day, February 28 – March 1, 2017, to give ample time to get to know and work with a new Administration. Read Changes in America and the Essential Role of CDFIs to learn about OFN’s approach.
  • CAMEO plans to follow OFN’s policy lead on the federal level and to work at the state level on issues such as CalCAP and responsible business lending. CAMEO remains committed to creating economic opportunity and building strong California communities.

Download the 2016 Election Presentation slides.