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AAU Weekly Wrap-Up, November 3, 2017

  • Budget and Tax Update 
  • House Tax Reform Bill Released Yesterday 
  • AAU Issues Statement Condemning House Tax Reform Bill 
  • Higher Education Associations File Amicus Brief to NLRB 
  • Senate Panel Considers NASA Administrator Nomination 


Yesterday, the House Ways and Means Committee released its tax reform legislation, The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (H.R. 1). The bill would eliminate several student benefits, including the student loan interest deduction and employer-provided educational assistance, and impose a 1.4 percent excise tax on private university endowments valued at $100,000 per full-time student. AAU President Mary Sue Coleman issued a statement noting the bill's dire impacts on students and their families, and calling for a tax code that supports higher education accessibility and affordability. A list of provisions affecting universities is available here.

Markup is scheduled for Monday, November 6 at 12:00 p.m. ET.


AAU and seven other higher education associations submitted an amicus brief to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) in support of a University of Southern California appeal. At issue in the federal appeals court is the test for determining when faculty members at private institutions may form a collective bargaining unit under the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA), as well as the NLRB's interpretation and application of the Supreme Court's 1980 Yeshiva decision and the NLRB's 2014 Pacific Lutheran decision, involving when faculty members are deemed sufficiently "managerial" to preclude organizing. In the USC case, the NLRB raised the evidentiary bar so high for an institution that it may be practically impossible to meet. The brief asserts that the NLRB's evidentiary window for an institution to sufficiently demonstrate a managerial role for its faculty misunderstands shared governance in higher education.


The Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation held a Wednesday hearing to consider the nomination of Rep. Jim Bridenstine (R-OK) to serve as the next NASA Administrator. During the hearing, Rep. Bridenstine laid out some of his priorities for NASA, including his support for the administration's plan to get to Mars. The Committee is scheduled to hold an executive session on the nomination Wednesday, November 8.

Politico and Space News have more.

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