Discussion and Position Brief on Federal Legislative Issues 2007
The financial panic of 1893 stunned business with its disastrous depression and subsequent severe deflation. The chemistry of credit was not understood and commercial failures reached record numbers. So serious was the problem that a â€śCongress of Credit, Collections and Failuresâ€ť was held as part of the 1893 Great Exposition in Chicago. That meeting, in turn, led to the further exploration of ways for credit practitioners to help each other.
In June of 1896, 82 delegates from ten local credit groups met in Toledo to endorse a national movement, creating what is now the National Association of Credit Management. Membership has grown from 600 at the end of 1896, to more than 20,000 today, making NACM one of the oldest and largest business credit organizations in the United States.
As the advocate for business credit and financial management professionals, NACM is committed to enhancing, promoting and protecting the many credit management interests of the commercial credit grantor. NACM represents business credit grantors in all industries including manufacturing, wholesaling, service industries and financial institutions. NACM is a member-owned association and exists solely to serve and support its members.
The purposes and objectives of NACM are to:
- promote honesty and integrity in credit transactions;
- assure equitable laws for sound credit practices;
- foster and facilitate the exchange of credit information;
- encourage efficient service in the collection of accounts;
- provide credit education through colleges, universities, home study courses, NACM and NACM Affiliates;
- promote and expedite sound credit administration in international trade;
- foster and encourage research in the field of credit;
- disseminate useful and instructive information and ideas with respect to credit management techniques and policies;
- promote economy and efficiency in the handling of estates of insolvent or bankrupt debtors;
- provide facilities for the investigation and prevention of fraud; and
- perform and encourage such other functions as the advancement and protection of business credit may require.
What Is Business Credit?
Business credit is an integral part of the American economy. The business credit executiveâ€”the NACM memberâ€”is an essential participant in our free enterprise system. Virtually every business transaction that concerns another business involves credit.
Business credit is the single largest source of business financing by volume, even exceeding bank loans. It should not be confused with consumer credit, credit cards, venture capital, commercial loans or credit unions. In this context, business credit is the credit extended between businesses and the fuel that drives the engine of todayâ€™s business economy.
Business credit is extended from one business to another for the purpose of acquiring goods that will eventually be resold, items that will be used to make goods for resale or to provide services among companies. Without business credit, Americaâ€™s economic system, as we know it, would not exist. Business credit is, in reality, the capital required to conduct business. Billions of dollars worth of goods and services are transacted daily through the business credit process.
The differences between business credit and consumer credit are much more than simply a question of who gives and receives credit, or for what purpose the purchases are employed. The following should be considered:
- The dollar amount of business credit extensions is usually much larger than that of most consumer credit transactions;
- Most business credit transactions are conducted on an unsecured basis;
- Timeliness in reaching a decision about whether to extend credit is often much more crucial in the business settingâ€”for example, delays in the manufacturing process can increase costs and reduce the quality of perishable goods;
- Whereas consumers usually open charge accounts with a credit limit agreed upon in advance, business credit grantors face a never-ending responsibility of credit judgment that retailers alone do not face with respect to their credit recipients. The business credit grantor must assess the outlook of the industry in which the business operates, the state of the economy and the market potential of the customer; and
- The sheer number of consumers often means that extenders of consumer credit generally aim for a broad market. Consumer creditors simply do not invest the resources that business creditors do in the treatment and consideration of individual customer applications.
For these reasons, mistakes and delays in the business credit process can have more serious consequences than in the consumer credit area. In the past, Congress has recognized the differences between business and consumer credit when passing legislation concerning credit.
Congress has realized that in the federal regulation of the credit reporting process, there is a greater need for business (as opposed to personal) information, less likelihood of individual injury in the commercial setting and fewer complaints about the unregulated business credit reporting system as it exists today. Experts have warned Congress that regulation in this area could result in serious delays in the availability of business credit information. Such delays, it is cautioned, could cost the economy an annual sales loss of over $60 billion.
Pressure from international markets has forced American businesses to be more competitive than ever. This pressure is intensified when regulatory requirements are imposed on American companies while similar restrictions do not exist for foreign corporations. Any restrictions on the free flow of credit information will retard the economy and further place American businesses at a competitive disadvantage.
Virtually every business is a user and grantor of business credit. Accordingly, Congress has realized that when one business buys from another, both the buyer and seller generally know and understand their rights, as well as their responsibilities, in the transaction. Imposed by the marketplace, this is an essential ingredient in the establishment and operation of any successful business.
In the final analysis, anything that interferes with the free and complete ability of the business credit grantor to make a sound, accurate and equitable credit decision is an impediment to the commerce of this country. Everyone loses; not only the businesses themselvesâ€”but also the consumer of the goods and services they provide.
Repeal 3% Withholding Tax on Government Contracts
The Joint Committee on Taxation issued a report on January 27, 2005 titled, â€śOptions to Improve Tax Compliance and Reform Tax Expenditures.â€ť This report, prepared at the request of then Senate Finance Committee Chairman Charles Grassley and then Ranking Member Max Baucus, presented various options to improve tax compliance and reform tax expenditures. The Joint Committeeâ€™s report cited the 2003 National Taxpayer Advocateâ€™s Report to Congress, which estimated that, in the year 2001, the amount of tax voluntarily and timely paid by taxpayers was approximately $311 billion less than the actual tax liability of taxpayers.
The Joint Committeeâ€™s report argued that â€śthe lack of a withholding mechanism on nonwage payments leads to substantial underpayment of tax each year and has long been identified as contributing to the tax gap.â€ť The Committeeâ€™s proposal required withholding on payments for goods and services made by all branches of the Federal Government and its agencies and all units of State and local governments, including counties and parishes. Local governments with less than $100 million of annual expenditures were excluded from the withholding requirement. The Committee argued that because such payments represent a significant part of the economy their proposal could be expected to improve compliance to an important extent without burdening private sector payors.
The Joint Committeeâ€™s proposal was incorporated into H.R. 4297, which was signed into law by President Bush on May 17, 2006 as the Tax Increase Prevention and Reconciliation Act of 2005 (Public Law 109-222) in Section 511. Section 511 of the Act imposes a new 3% withholding tax on the value of most contracts for goods and services between businesses and federal and state governments, as well as local political subdivisions with contracting expenditures of $100 million or more beginning on January 1, 2011.
This new withholding tax will impose a severe financial strain on all businesses that rely on government business. It will be especially burdensome to many small- and medium-sized businesses that operate with very tight cash flows and simply canâ€™t afford this new withholding tax. However, the hardship this new tax imposes affects all businesses that do business with government entities, no matter what their size.
1. This new tax will adversely impact many businesses, which do not have the administrative or financial capacity to withstand an additional 3% withholding tax.
2. This new 3% withholding tax is inherently unfair and potentially financially debilitating because it is not a progressive tax. Therefore, it will place a proportionately higher financial burden on all businesses engaging in commerce with government. This places an undue burden on the already-squeezed cash flows of many small- and medium-sized businesses.
3. This new 3% withholding tax may force those who currently do business with federal, state and larger local governments to cease doing business with them. Such a result will lead to less competition for government business, driving up prices that the government has to pay for goods and services. This could ultimately lead to having to impose higher taxes on all taxpayers.
4. It could further weaken the U.S. economy, which depends a great deal on new jobs and economic growth created by all business, including the small- and medium-sized businesses that are responsible for the majority of new jobs created.
NACMâ€™s Campaign to Repeal 3% Withholding Tax
Fortunately, there is hope that this new 3% withholding tax can be repealed. On the same day that President Bush signed H.R. 4297 into law, U.S. Sen. Larry Craig (R-ID), introduced S. 2821, entitled the Withholding Tax Relief Act of 2006, which would have repealed section 511 of P.L. 109-222, effectively eliminating this new 3% withholding tax. While legislation did not move in the last Congress, it is expected that Senator Craig will re-introduce this same legislation in the 110th Congress.
On the House side, Congressman Wally Herger, (R-CA) and Kendrick Meek (D-FL) have introduced a bill, H.R. 1023, in the House of Representatives which would repeal this sweeping new requirement mandating that federal, state and local government withhold 3% from payments for goods and services.
NACM strongly supports H.R. 1023 and applauds Representatives Herger and Meek for introducing this important piece of legislation.
Bankruptcy Reform Legislation
As the largest organization of unsecured trade credit grantors in the world, NACM is vitally concerned about the effects that bankruptcy law and practices have on the U.S. economy. To this end, NACM has fought for bankruptcy reform laws that accurately reflect the needed balance between creditors and debtors.
The Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act of 2005 (BAPCPA) provided some relief for trade credit grantors. After working tirelessly toward bankruptcy reform since the 1990s, significant reforms were finally passed by Congress in the form of the BAPCPA for the benefit of trade creditors involved with debtors filing or about to file bankruptcy.
Changes implemented by BAPCPA include revisions in the ability of a debtor or trustee to challenge an alleged preferential payment to creditors; the extension of the period of time in which a reclamation claim could be brought in insolvency cases; and the creation of an expedited procedure for small businesses in Chapter 11.
In 2006 the NACMâ€™s Bankruptcy Workgroup collaborated with various Members of Congress on bills that would have shifted the burden of proof in a preference action to the trustees from the trade creditor. No proposals ever made it to the floor of the House of Representatives before the conclusion of the 109th session. Even so, the NACM Bankruptcy Workgroup continues to study and evaluate the effects of BAPCPA to determine what changes or refinements to the bankruptcy law are necessary for the interests of trade creditors in bankruptcy proceedings.
Trade creditors continue to receive preference demands from trustees on payments less than $5,000, even though BAPCPA forbids preference recovery actions brought against a non-insider business trade grantor if the aggregate amount of the preference is $5,000 or less. This change was made to protect small trade creditors, which are most susceptible to preference demands of $5,000 or less. Further, the imposition of this threshold was designed to increase the likelihood that preference recoveries will benefit all creditors and not merely pay for collection efforts.
BAPCPA extends the period of time in which a reclamation claim can be asserted in bankruptcy cases. Under the Uniform Commercial Code, outside of the bankruptcy arena, demand for the return of goods by a creditor has to be made within 10 days after delivery to the debtor. Under the BAPCPA, once a bankruptcy petition is filed, a creditor can assert a reclamation claim for the return of all goods received by the debtor within 45 days before the date of commencement of the bankruptcy case. The reclamation demand must be in writing, identify the goods subject to reclamation, and be made within 45 days of receipt of such goods. If the 45-day period expires after the commencement of the bankruptcy case, the creditor has up to 20 days after the commencement of the bankruptcy case to make its reclamation demand.
To date, the experience of creditors has been that reclamation still is not working as intended. The defenses that a debtor can assert to defeat a reclamation claim continue to make relief on a reclamation claim problematic and costly.
Should the creditor choose not to seek the return of goods, or in the event the creditor chooses a return of its goods and its reclamation claim is denied, then the creditor would have the alternative of enjoying an administrative priority for the value of all goods the debtor receives within 20 days prior to the filing subject to court approval. This new 20-day administrative claim is generally working well on a case-by-case basis in terms of granting trade creditors an allowed administrative priority, although some courts have been deferring payment of the claim to the end of the case.
The NACM Bankruptcy Workgroup is being very deliberative and cognizant of the rights of and fairness not only to trade creditors but also to all the parties in a bankruptcy proceeding as it works toward crafting further Bankruptcy Code amendments.
Government Contracting Practices
Modifications and Ratifications
Many NACM members who are government contractors report problems with modifications and ratifications of federal government contracts. The Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) does not provide the federal contracting officer or the federal contractor a time limit by which a modification or ratification must be completed and approved.
The Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) was developed to provide a fair partnership between the Federal Government and its contractors. FAR establishes uniform federal agency acquisition policies and procedures and strives to protect public interests through established ethical standards. The Department of Defense (DOD), the General Services Administration (GSA), and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) jointly issue and maintain FAR, which is used by federal agencies to acquire goods and services.
FAR defines the acquisition process as â€śâ€¦the acquiring, by contract with appropriated funds, of supplies or services (including construction) by and for the use of the Federal Government through purchase or lease, whether the supplies or services are already in existence or must be created, developed, demonstrated and evaluated. Acquisition begins at the point when agency needs are established and includes the description of requirements to satisfy agency needs, solicitation and selection of sources, award of contracts financing, contract performance, contract administration and those technical and management functions directly related to the process of fulfilling agency needs by contract.â€ť Refinement within FAR is an ongoing process to support both the federal agencies and contractors.
While there is no legislation currently proposed addressing some of the problems still plaguing government contractors, NACM members have discussed the government contractor concerns and feel that an amendment to the Federal Acquisition Regulation is needed to address the issues of modification or ratification of a contract. NACM members are concerned about the amount of time it takes for a contracting officer to complete a modification or ratification to a contract. At times, goods or services are received by a government agency, but the appropriated funds on a current contract are depleted before all invoices can be paid. The federal contractor must issue a modification on the contract to allocate more funds. Unfortunately, because the original funds have been paid, the Prompt Payment Act no longer applies. Federal contractors must wait for a non-regulated amount of time for a modification to be made. Federal contractors must endure a cash-flow hardship; at times, the Federal Government disregards the strain it places on businesses who are their contractors.
NACM is concerned about the non-regulated amount of time it takes for a ratification to be made by a federal contracting officer. A ratification is a contract that is drafted and approved after the services have been provided or goods have been received. After the contractor has acknowledged the appropriate approval from the government receiver, the amount of time of the ratification is not monitored. This can be a hardship on businesses. A regulated time period for ratifications would benefit the government agency as well as the government contractor.
Federal Prompt Pay Act
In 1988, Congress passed the Federal Prompt Pay Act which requires the government to pay its bills on time or incur interest penalties. Since the enactment of this law, many of the payment problems that government contractors previously experienced have been resolved. However, many subcontractors have reported shortcomings in the law since key provisions of the Act do not extend to them. Other loopholes and oversights in the administration of the Act (outlined below) still plague government contractors and subcontractors and should be addressed by Congress.
The Federal Prompt Pay Act has greatly improved the Federal Governmentâ€™s payment practices. Given the size and number of invoices and government contractors, it is not unreasonable to assume that some oversights in the law exist. At the same time, refinements in government contracting practices require a periodic review and updating of the law.
While there is no legislation pending, NACM recommends that the scope of the Act be expanded. One of the areas needing attention is â€śprogress paymentsâ€ť or payments for which the current law does not apply (except in the case of construction contractors). Non-construction government contractors who perform work in stages and therefore receive periodic payments are not afforded the protection of the prompt pay laws. In a related area, suppliers and subcontractors under federal contract in non-construction industries have also reported difficulty in getting paid in a timely manner.
Finally, subcontractors have no protection under the Prompt Pay Act that ensures payment by Prime Contractors. Subcontractors have reported not being paid months or years after a Prime Contractor has been paid. At this time, there is no penalty on Prime Contractors for non-payment to subcontractors.
Personal Data Privacy and Security Act of 2007
On February 6, 2007, Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT), chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, and Senator Arlen Specter (R-PA), ranking member of the same committee, introduced a revised version of their Personal Data Privacy Act that was approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee last year, but died before a floor vote. The legislation will â€śprevent and mitigate identity theft, ensure privacy, provide notice of security breaches and enhance criminal penalties, law enforcement assistance and other protections against security breaches, fraudulent access and misuse of personally identifiable information.â€ť The bi-partisan bill, which has been referred to the Committee on the Judiciary, has garnered four cosponsors: Senator Brown (OH), Senator Feingold (WI), Senator Sanders (VT) and Senator Schumer (NY). The bill, S.495, is known as the Personal Data Privacy and Security Act of 2007.
Congress has found that databases of personally identifiable information are increasingly prime targets of hackers, identity thieves, rogue employees and other criminals, including organized and sophisticated criminal operations. Additionally, Congress finds that identity theft is a serious threat to the nationâ€™s economic stability, homeland security, the development of e-commerce and the privacy rights of Americans, citing that over 9 million individuals were victims of identity theft in America in 2006.
The basic premises of S.495 are:
- It is important for business entities that own, use, or license personally identifiable information to adopt reasonable procedures to ensure the security, privacy and confidentiality of that personally identifiable information.
- Data brokers have assumed a significant role in providing identification, authentication and screening services, and related data collection and analyses for commercial, nonprofit and government operations. Therefore, there is a need to insure that data brokers conduct their operations in a manner that prioritizes fairness, transparency, accuracy and respect for the privacy of consumers.
A key feature of the legislation, S.495, includes increasing criminal penalties for identity theft involving electronic personal data and making it a crime to intentionally or willfully conceal a security breach involving personal data. The Federal Trade Commission has the responsibility of oversight and enforcement of these regulations.
The bill defines:
- a business entity to mean any organization, corporation, trust, partnership, sole proprietorship, unincorporated association, venture established to make a profit, or nonprofit, and any contractor, subcontractor, affiliate, or licensee thereof engaged in interstate commerce.
- the term â€śdata brokerâ€ť to mean a business entity which, for monetary fees or dues, regularly engages in the practice of collecting, transmitting, or providing access to sensitive personally identifiable information on more than 5,000 individuals who are not the customers or employees of that business entity or affiliate primarily for the purposes of providing such information to non-affiliated third parties on an interstate basis.
- the term â€śdata furnisherâ€ť to mean any agency, organization, corporation, trust, partnership, sole proprietorship, unincorporated association, or nonprofit that serves as a source of information for a data broker.
- sensitive personally identifiable information to mean any information or compilation of information, in electronic or digital form that includesâ€”
- an individualâ€™s first and last name or first initial and last name in combination with any one of the following data elements:
- a non-truncated social security number, driverâ€™s license number, passport number, or alien registration number.
- a unique biometric data such as a finger print, voice print, a retina or iris image, or any other unique physical representation.
- a unique account identifier, electronic identification number, user name, or routing code in combination with any associated security code, access code, or password that is required for an individual to obtain money, goods, services, or any other thing of value.
- any two of the following: home address or telephone number; motherâ€™s maiden name, if identified as such; month, day and year of birth.
- a financial account number or credit or debit card number in combination with any security code, access code or password that is required for an individual to obtain credit, withdraw funds, or engage in a financial transaction.
- an individualâ€™s first and last name or first initial and last name in combination with any one of the following data elements:
This bill will require businesses which engage in interstate commerce, that involves collecting, accessing, transmitting, using, storing, or disposing of sensitive personally identifiable information in electronic or digital form on 10,000 or more United States persons, to implement a comprehensive personal data privacy and security policy that includes administrative, technical and physical safeguards appropriate to the size and complexity of the business entity and the nature and scope of its activities.
In addition to having to follow the requirements for businesses, data brokers must also, upon the request of an individual, disclose to such individual, for a reasonable fee, all personal electronic records pertaining to that individual maintained specifically for disclosure to third parties that request information on that individual in the ordinary course of business in the databases or systems of the data broker at the time of the request. The disclosures shall also include guidance to individuals on procedures for correcting inaccuracies.
The Data Accountability and Trust Act
The leading Democrat and the leading Republican on the powerful Energy and Commerce Committee (one of the principal committees of jurisdiction on this issue) jointly supported legislation, H.R. 958, to address this issue. The purpose of H.R. 958, the Data Accountability and Trust Act, is to protect consumers by requiring reasonable security policies and procedures to protect computerized data containing personal information, and to provide for nationwide notice in the event of a security breach. Companies engaged in interstate commerce that own or possess data in electronic form containing personal information will have to notify each individual who is a citizen or resident of the United States and notify the Federal Trade Commission.
The Data Accountability and Trust Act defines:
- An information broker to mean a commercial entity whose business is to collect, assemble, or maintain personal information concerning individuals who are not current or former customers of such entity in order to sell such information or provide access to such information to any nonaffiliated third party in exchange for consideration, whether such collection, assembly, or maintenance of personal information is performed by the information broker directly, or by contract or subcontract with any other entity.
- The term â€śpersonal informationâ€ť to mean an individualâ€™s first name or initial and last name, or address, or phone number in combination with any one or more of the following data elements for that individual:
- Social security number
- Driverâ€™s license number or other state identification number
- Financial account number, or credit or debit card number, and any required security code, access code, or password that is necessary to permit access to an individualâ€™s financial account.
This bill requires an individual, partnership, corporation, association, or public or private organization other than an agency, engaged in interstate commerce that owns or possesses data in electronic form containing personal information, or contracts to have any third party entity maintain such data, to establish and implement policies and procedures regarding information security practices for the treatment and protection of personal information taking into consideration the size of, and the nature and scope and complexity of the activities engaged in, the current state of the art administrative, technical and physical safeguards for protecting such information and the cost of implementing such safeguards.
The policies and procedures must include:
- a security policy;
- the identification of a point of contact with responsibility for the management of information security;
- a process for identifying and assessing any reasonably foreseeable vulnerabilities;
- a process of taking preventive and corrective action;
- a process for disposing obsolete data in electronic form containing personal information by shredding, permanently erasing or otherwise modifying the personal information contained in such data to make it permanently unreadable or undecipherable.
NACM believes that consumers should be afforded the utmost protection of their personal information. At the same time, NACM urges Congress to allow for the free exchange of information for the purposes of evaluating and extending unsecured commercial credit. NACM cautions Congress about the unintended consequence of the burden that will be placed on businesses to comply with more regulations and policies.
Junk Fax Laws
NACM was pleased to report last year a favorable court ruling in the litigation challenging Californiaâ€™s fax law. The lawsuit was filed in 2005 by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and others to invalidate the California law as it applies to interstate faxes. The stateâ€™s law prohibited unsolicited fax advertisements that were both interstate and intrastate in nature without prior consent, and conflicted with the federal law that grants an exemption for unsolicited fax advertisements in cases where the sender has an â€śestablished business relationshipâ€ť (EBR) with the recipient.
On February 27, 2006, a U.S. District Court in California held that Californiaâ€™s fax law (SB 833) is preempted by the federal â€śJunk Fax Prevention Actâ€ť as it applies to the interstate faxes. The federal law went into effect in the summer of 2005. What this ruling means for businesses is that they can safely send faxes to or from California in cases where they have an EBR with the recipient (and if they follow the requirements of the federal law, such as inclusion of an opt-out notice).
The Fax Ban Coalition regards this as a major victory in the effort to preempt any state attempts to regulate interstate fax advertising. However, it is important to note that in its ruling, the court did not address intrastate faxes (faxes sent from one fax number in California to another within the state), and SB 833 will still apply to these faxes. The court also still needs to decide the â€śseverabilityâ€ť of the law, thereby determining if it can strike just the interstate portion of the law or if it must rule against the entire measure.
NACM will continue to monitor this case for further rulings or in the event it is appealed.
On April 5, 2006, the Commission adopted rules to implement the Junk Fax Prevention Act. Among other things, the new regulations codify an established business relationship (EBR) exemption to the prohibition on sending unsolicited facsimile advertisements. The rules also:
- provide a definition of an EBR to be used in the context of unsolicited facsimile advertisements;
- require the sender of a facsimile advertisement to provide specified notice and contact information on the facsimile that allows recipients to â€śopt-outâ€ť of any future facsimile transmissions from the sender and specify the circumstances under which a request to â€śopt-outâ€ť complies with the Junk Fax Prevention Act.
CAN-SPAM Legislation Updates
Members of the House Energy and Commerce Committee have asked the Federal Trade Commission to comment on whether changes are needed to CAN-SPAM legislation passed in 2003. Representatives Bobby Rush (D-IL) and Cliff Stearns (R-FL) â€” Chair and Ranking member respectively of the Subcommittee on Commerce, Trade, and Consumer Protection â€” cited a recent Internet study showing that spam had grown more than 100% since December 2005. The letter, addressed to FTC Chairman Deborah Platt Majoras, said the findings were â€śdeeply troublingâ€ť and hinted at possible legislative action to address the issue. It was also signed by subcommittee members Gene Green (D-TX) and Heather Wilson (R-NM).
In an interview with The Bureau of National Affairs (BNA) on February 2nd, Lois Greisman, associate director of the FTCâ€™s division of marketing practices, defended the agencyâ€™s enforcement by saying they already had enforcement tools and pointed to the nearly 90 cases prosecuted under the act. When asked about possible legislative changes, she said, â€śItâ€™s something we always think about, but thereâ€™s nothing I can think of immediately.â€ť
The Direct Marketing Association has also come out against changes to the CAN-SPAM legislation. Jerry Cerasale, senior vice president of government affairs, told BNA that a â€śsignificant amount of enforcementâ€ť has been done with the legislation, and that â€śthe current tools used against spam are working.â€ť
About NACM and the NACM Government Affairs Program
Established in 1896 and more important than ever today, NACM continually makes membersâ€™ views known to representatives in Washington, D.C. In this era of prolific legislation, regulations and judicial decisions, NACM is a watchdog and an activist on behalf of business credit management in the public arena, at both the national and state levels, ensuring that sound credit management practices are recognized. Through a permanent government affairs office in Washington, NACM works to enact better laws, and to modify or repeal outmoded state and federal laws affecting credit and finance. A partial list of legislative accomplishments in recent years includes:
1996: Worked with the House Judiciary Committee to delete provisions of the Bankruptcy Technical Corrections Act that would have impaired the rights of unsecured creditors. Testified before the National Bankruptcy Review Commission to develop expedited procedures for small business reorganizations. Also testified before the NBRC regarding the role of government in bankruptcy proceedings.
1997: Testified on numerous occasions before the National Bankruptcy Review Commission regarding various bankruptcy issues. The Commissionâ€™s recommendations to Congress included all amendments sought by NACM. Also secured modification in the implementation of DFAS rules so that government contractors were paid for progress payments in a fair and timely method.
1998: Testified before the House Judiciary Committee regarding Bankruptcy Reform legislation. Provided testimony to the Senate Judiciary Committee regarding Bankruptcy Reform legislation. Held a series of meetings with the Federal Trade Commission regarding application of the Fair Credit Reporting Act.
1999: Worked in a coalition of other interest groups to bring about the first amendments to the Miller Act in decades. This legislation provides greater protections to subcontractors working on federal projects. Provided testimony to both the House and Senate Judiciary Committees regarding the Bankruptcy Reform legislation. Worked with the Federal Reserve Board to draft new treatment of Regulation B under the Equal Credit Opportunity Act, which governs the activity of credit grantors. Assisted in the filing of an Amicus Brief before the United States Supreme Court regarding a new value exception in the La Salle case.
2000: Began working with the U.S. State Department and Department of Commerce to develop business trade conferences in China. Provided testimony to both the House and Senate Judiciary Committees regarding the Bankruptcy Reform legislation.
Worked with the Federal Reserve Board to draft new treatment of Regulation B under the Equal Credit Opportunity Act, which governs the activity of credit grantors. Met with FTC staff regarding the Fair Credit Reporting Act.
2001: Provided testimony to the Senate Judiciary Committee regarding bankruptcy legislation. Worked with Senate Small Business Committee regarding Chapter 11 deadlines in proposed legislation. Worked with industry coalition to resolve issues pertaining to creditor responsibilities under the Fair Credit Reporting Act. Assisted FCIB in securing Department of Commerce grant for online credit education curriculum.
2002: Provided testimony to the House and Senate Judiciary Committee staffs regarding pending changes to the bankruptcy legislation. Worked with the House Small Business Committee regarding development of trade credit opportunities for American businesses seeking to enter international trade markets. Worked with Commerce and State Departments regarding international credit and financial reporting standards.
2003: Worked to provide clarification in proposed legislation and regulations pertaining to the treatment of commercial communications for the â€śjunk fax transmissionâ€ť issue. Provided testimony to the House and Senate Judiciary Committees regarding consideration of bankruptcy reform legislation. Worked with the Department of Commerce to develop international trade credit educational opportunities.
2004: Helped draft legislation pertaining to exemptions for preference claims under the Bankruptcy Code. Worked to develop response and policy for proposed interim rules on Department of Defense contracting procedures. Led a delegation of 10 representatives from the Chinese Government before the U.S. Congress and federal agencies pertaining to adoption of Western trade practices for China.
2005: Worked to help enact BAPCPA. Continued to work to provide input as the implementing rules of BAPCPA were being drafted.
2006: Worked to clarify commercial data protection requirements and information brokers as part of the data privacy legislation; helped craft bankruptcy technical clean-up proposals dealing with preferences.
For more information about NACM or any of the information presented here, please contact:
Robin Schauseil, CAE
National Association of Credit Management
8840 Columbia 100 Parkway
Columbia, MD 21045-2158
NACM Washington Representative
1220 North Fillmore Street, Suite 400
Arlington, VA 22201