A quick look back at the news from last week. Compiled by Penn Hill Group.
The House Ways and Means Committee completed marking up the House GOP’s Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. During the markup, several changes were made to the education-related provisions of the tax bill, including reducing the number of institutions with endowments that would be impacted by the bill’s endowment excise tax and allowing the rollover of 529 account funds into ABLE accounts. ABLE accounts allow for tax-deferred savings to cover the costs of caring for individuals with disabilities. Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) has stated that the full House will likely consider this bill this week.
The House Education and the Workforce Committee will hold a hearing to examine the policies and priorities of the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) on Wednesday, November 15.
The Senate Finance Committee released details on the Senate GOP’s version of tax cut legislation. Like the House bill, the measure would place a tax on the income of endowments at private institutions of higher education and tax the cost of sport seat licenses at colleges and universities. The bill would also eliminate the ability to deduct state and local taxes for individual taxpayers, in contrast to the House’s partial preservation of this tax deduction. However, the measure does not include several of the higher education related provisions that are included in the House bill: the bill does not consolidate the American Opportunity Tax Credit and Hope and Lifetime Learning Credits, and does not eliminate the tuition reduction tax benefits available to students and employees of institutions of higher education or those receiving employer-provided tuition reimbursement. In addition, the Senate bill does not include the House proposal to consolidate Coverdell Education Savings Accounts into 529 education savings plans or allow for such benefits to cover elementary and secondary expenses.
The Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee announced a confirmation hearing for several of President Trump’s nominees for positions at the Departments of Education (ED) and Labor. The Committee will hold a hearing on Wednesday, November 15 on the nominations of Mick Zais to be Deputy Secretary and Jim Blew to be Assistant Secretary for Planning, Evaluation, and Policy Development, both at ED, as well as Patricia O’Scannlain to be Solicitor and Preston Rutledge to be Assistant Secretary for the Employee Benefits Security Administration at DOL.
The Senate voted to confirm Peter Robb as the General Counsel for the National Labor Relations Board.
The Administration withdrew the nomination of Tim Kelly to be the Assistant Secretary for Career, Technical, And Adult Education citing comments he made in a series of blog posts.
Negotiators charged with rewriting the Borrower Defense to Repayment and Financial Responsibility regulations had their first meeting this week.
ED Secretary Betsey DeVos visited schools in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands to examine conditions and meet with school staff and students.
Penn Hill Group plans to provide clients with a summary of the following event next week:
• November 15: Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee hearing: Nominations, including Mick Zais to be Deputy Secretary and Jim Blew to be Assistant Secretary for Planning, Evaluation, and Policy Development, both at ED, as well as Patricia O’Scannlain to be Solicitor and Preston Rutledge to be Assistant Secretary for the Employee Benefits Security Administration at the Department of Labor.