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Deborah Koolbeck

Senior Director of Government Relations, AACTE

Congress Reaches Agreement on Tax Reform, Plans to Vote This Week

On Friday, December 15, members of the U.S. Congress unveiled a conference report on tax reform, resolving differences between the House and Senate bills.

Full text of the conference report, which is nearly 1,100 pages long, can be found here. For those who want to go into the weeds, a joint explanatory statement, which describes current law, the House and Senate provisions, and what is in the conference agreement, can be found here.

White House Releases Higher Education Reauthorization Principles

On the same day that Chairwoman Virginia Foxx (R-NC) released her Higher Education Act (HEA) reauthorization bill in the U.S. House of Representatives, the Trump Administration released a set of principles for HEA reauthorization.

The White House document (see PDF here) reveals five broad goals and eight policy principles for consideration as the reauthorization process begins in the U.S. House of Representatives. The House Education and the Workforce committee is expected to move the bill forward starting the week of December 4. On the U.S. Senate side, Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-TN) has stated that HEA reauthorization will be a priority for the Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions committee next year.

House HEA Bill Would Repeal Title II, End TEACH Grants

On December 1, the Republicans of the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Education and the Workforce released their bill to reauthorize the Higher Education Act. H.R. 4508, the “Promoting Real Opportunity, Success, and Prosperity though Education Reform (PROSPER) Act,” would change or repeal aspects of the current law.

While we are still analyzing the bill, here are few key provisions that would affect educator preparation:

NEA Releases Analysis of House Tax Bill

Today the National Education Association (NEA) released an analysis of the U.S. House tax reform bill, H.R. 1, the “Tax Cuts and Jobs Act,” to project the impact on PK-12 education of the elimination of the State and Local Tax (SALT) deduction for individuals (the tax plan permits corporations to keep this deduction).

In a press release, the NEA highlighted the potential effect of this single elimination: “The impact of eliminating SALT on public education is nearly equal to the education jobs lost during the Great Recession. By most accounts, the country lost about 300,000 education jobs during that time.”

Tax Reform Process Begins in U.S. House

Last week Chairman Kevin Brady (R-TX) of the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Ways and Means introduced a tax reform bill, H.R. 1, The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, and scheduled the markup to start November 6 and continue until the work is completed. This process was initiated via reconciliation through the Fiscal Year 2018 budget resolution.

Prior to the markup beginning, Brady offered a manager’s amendment making changes to the original bill, and the markup (watch it live and view additional resources here) allows committee members to offer amendments.

Congressional Activity Heats Up – Engage With AACTE Action Alerts, Webinars

As Congress returned from August recess, its agenda included a laundry list of items, and it is shaping up to be a very busy fall on Capitol Hill. Budget and appropriations, hurricane relief, the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, Higher Education Act reauthorization, and tax reform are just some of the issues that will fill the congressional calendar. For many of these topics, the voice of the education profession will be an important perspective for your members of Congress to hear.

Follow these three steps to ensure your constituent voice is heard:

Congress Hits the Ground Running With Appropriations Work

House and Senate Move on Education Funding Bills

Congress returned from August recess and hit the ground running on its work funding the federal government as the September 30 deadline looms.

U.S. House of Representatives Action

You might recall that the House passed four appropriations bills as a single package at the end of July. The House determined it would move the eight remaining appropriations bills to the floor as a single package – including the Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies (Labor-H) bill – immediately after August recess. A call for amendments went out in early August.

Stay Informed With Member-Exclusive Federal Update Webinars

With the U.S. Congress and the Trump Administration continuing to work in June and July, we also continue to monitor their activity, including the funding of key programs for educator preparation. If you joined us for Day on the Hill earlier this month, you got a sense of what’s unfolding and how you can engage. If you missed Day on the Hill, don’t worry – we’ve got you covered with Federal Update webinars to let you know where your advocacy can make an impact.

Registration is now open for the next few Federal Update webinars, available exclusively to AACTE members. Take a moment to mark your calendar and sign up online so you can stay informed and engaged! We will offer these updates twice each in June, July, and September (but like the Congress, we’ll take August off).

AACTE Award Recognizes Congressional Leaders

U.S. Representative Brett Guthrie (R-KY) and AACTE President/CEO Lynn M. Gangone celebrate Guthrie’s acceptance of the AACTE Congressional Leadership Award. The other recipient, U.S. Senator Benjamin E. Sasse (R-NE), was unable to attend the event but supported AACTE by securing the room for the Day on the Hill breakfast.

On June 7, AACTE honored U.S. Representative Brett Guthrie (R-KY) and U.S. Senator Benjamin E. Sasse (R-NE) for working with AACTE and its partners to rescind the U.S. Department of Education regulations on teacher preparation programs. The lawmakers received the 2017 AACTE Congressional Leadership Award, which is presented during AACTE’s Day on the Hill to recognize members of Congress who have played a strong leadership role in support of the profession.

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