Penn Hill Group’s Washington Wrap Up – November 8, 2017

A quick look back at the news from last week. Compiled by Penn Hill Group. 


House Republicans released their tax bill Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, which amends or repeals sections or provisions of the Internal Revenue Code. Among the education-related changes, the bill would place an excise tax on endowment earnings at certain private institutions, end the deduction of student loan interest, consolidate Hope and Lifetime Learning Tax credits into a newly structured American Opportunity Tax Credit, count tuition reimbursement as income for individuals, limit the ability to deduct State and local taxes to just the first $10,000 of property taxes, consolidate Coverdell education savings accounts into section 529 plans, and expand section 529 plans to cover elementary and high school expenses of up to $10,000 per year and expenses associated with apprenticeship programs.

House Education and the Workforce Committee Chairwoman Virginia Foxx (R-NC) released a statement supporting the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.


In response to the U.S. Department of Education’s (ED) announcement rescinding 600 pieces of guidance, Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pension Committee Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-TN) released a statement supporting ED’s actions and Committee Ranking Member Patty Murray (D-WA) released a statement opposing ED’s actions.

Chairman Alexander and Ranking Member Murray announced the support of more than 200 groups for their short-term bipartisan legislation to stabilize premiums and access to insurance in individual health insurance markets.

Ranking Member Murray released a statement calling on Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) to allow the Alexander-Murray health care legislation to come up for a vote in the Senate.

Ranking Member Murray released a statement following reports that ED Secretary Betsy DeVos is considering providing partial relief for students who were defrauded by their institution of higher education.


President Trump announced his intent to nominate Douglas Webster to serve as Chief Financial Officer at ED. Webster is the current director of risk management at the U.S. Agency of International Development.

The attorneys general who have already filed a lawsuit challenging ED’s delay of the Borrower Defense to Repayment (BDR) regulations in court filed an amended complaint that argues that the new delay did not go through the appropriate public comment process, as well as challenges the merits of ED’s argument to justify the delay. Maine Attorney General Janet Mills has also signed onto the lawsuit, bringing the total number of States suing DeVos to 19 plus the District of Columbia.

President Trump had a meeting with several Senate Republicans where they agreed that a legislative measure on the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program would not be included as part of a fiscal year 2018 appropriations bill.

ED has offered 255 employees early retirement in exchange for a buyout.