- Budget and Tax Update
- AAU President Comments on Senate Finance Committee Tax Reform Proposal
- AAU President, Associations Express Concerns with House Tax Reform Bill
- Tax Reform Issue Briefs Available
- U.S., Turkey to Resume Granting Visas to One Another
- Associations Urge EPA to Reconsider Advisory Panel Directive
- House and Senate Agree to $700 Billion Defense Authorization Bill
- Senate Panel Advances NASA Administrator Nomination
BUDGET AND TAX UPDATE
Today, AAU President Mary Sue Coleman issued a statement regarding the Senate's tax reform proposal, released late yesterday via Chairman's mark. Unlike the House bill, the Senate would retain critical higher education student tax benefits, including graduate student tuition remission, the student loan interest deduction, and employer-provided educational assistance. However, the Senate plan eliminates the state and local tax deduction which will further discourage state investment in public colleges and universities. Like the House plan, the Senate bill would also impose a 1.4 percent excise tax on private colleges and universities whose endowments are valued at $250,000 or more per student. The Senate Finance Committee has scheduled markup for Monday, November 13.
The House Ways and Means Committee yesterday approved its tax reform bill (H.R. 1) after adopting several last-minute amendments. One such amendment, introduced by Chairman Kevin Brady (R-TX) expands the proposed 1.4 percent excise tax on private university endowments valued at $250,000 or more per student to include assets held by university-affiliated organizations. The House bill would also eliminate several student benefits, including the student loan interest deduction and employer-provided educational assistance. After the vote, Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) said the House will vote on the proposal next week.
Earlier this week, AAU President Mary Sue Coleman issued a statement condemning the House tax reform proposal. AAU also joined several other higher education associations in a letter on Monday to House Ways and Means Committee leaders to express serious concerns with the House bill. The letter notes the legislation would greatly discourage participation in postsecondary education, make college more expensive, and weaken the financial stability of colleges and universities.
The following tax issue briefs are available on the AAU website for reference:
- Federal Tax Provisions Affecting Colleges and Universities (Summary)
- House and Senate Tax Proposal Side-by-Side
- College and University Endowments
- Qualified Tuition Reduction, Sec. 117(d)
- Employer-Provided Educational Assistance Benefits, Sec. 127
- Student Loan Interest Deduction (SLID)
- American Opportunity Tax Credit (AOTC)
- Lifetime Learning Credit (LLC)
- Charitable Giving and University and Colleges
- Unrelated Business Income Tax (UBIT)
- Tax-Exempt Financing by Universities and Colleges
- Tax-Exempt Status of Universities and Colleges
U.S., TURKEY RESUME GRANTING VISAS TO ONE ANOTHER
The U.S. embassy in Ankara announced it would resume "limited visa service" to non-immigrant Turkish nationals after receiving assurances from the Turkish government that no American employees were under pending investigation in the country. In response, the Turkish embassy in Washington, D.C., said it would also resume processing visa applications for U.S. nationals "on a limited basis." In October, both countries stopped issuing nonimmigrant visas to each other's citizens.
Al Jazeera has more.
ASSOCIATIONS URGE EPA TO RECONSIDER ADVISORY PANEL DIRECTIVE
AAU on Monday joined four other higher education associations in a letter urging EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt to reconsider a recent directive that bars scientists receiving EPA grants from advisory roles, due to a perceived conflict of interest and lack of objectivity. The letter argues that researchers deemed worthy of receiving taxpayer funds for research are the very experts that the EPA should turn to for advice. This, combined with ethical standards and conflict of interest rules, allows for the selection of the most qualified researchers to conduct EPA research and it is only logical to allow these researchers to serve in scientific advisory roles.
HOUSE AND SENATE AGREE TO $700 BILLION DEFENSE AUTHORIZATION BILL
House and Senate negotiators agreed Wednesday to a $700 billion defense authorization plan for FY18 (H.R. 2810), setting authorizing levels at roughly $85 billion above Budget Control Act (BCA) caps. The plan, which sets aside about $626 billion for base defense funding and $66 billion for overseas contingency operations, still needs final approval in both chambers in the coming weeks, and lawmakers will need to reconcile the bill's cost with existing BCA caps. A summary of the conference report is available here.
Defense News has more.
SENATE PANEL ADVANCES NASA ADMINISTRATOR NOMINATION
On Wednesday, the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee approved the nomination of Representative Jim Bridenstine (R-OK) to serve as NASA Administrator by a party-line vote of 14-13. His nomination now moves to the full Senate for final consideration.