What Did I Miss in Washington? January 23, 2018 - March 5, 2018
The steady stream of news emerging from the nation's capital can be overwhelming. NACUBO highlights key actions and provides the status of top higher education business officer concerns.
On Capitol Hill
Senate Solicits Ideas for HEA Reauthorization. NACUBO recently responded to a white paper released by Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN) examining federal accountability measures for higher education. Alexander, chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee, is exploring these concepts in an effort to reauthorize the Higher Education Act (HEA), which was last reauthorized in 2008. Together with his Democratic counterpart, Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA), he also encouraged additional feedback on other proposals and new ideas for the HEA reauthorization. NACUBO submitted a comment letter focused on proposals to disburse aid, like a paycheck, a new schedule for return of Title IV funds, risk sharing, and reiterated seven principles that a broader group higher education associations submitted jointly to the committee.
Official Challenges to Net Neutrality Repeal Begin. Following the Federal Communications Commission's official publication of the rule to repeal net neutrality in the Federal Register on February 22, legal challenges to the rule have begun in earnest. A suit filed by 23 Democratic states attorneys general has been filed in the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, as have several other suits filed both in D.C. and other Circuit Courts around the country. Additionally, Democratic lawmakers, led by Sen. Ed Markey (D-MA), have introduced a resolution on the Senate floor that would utilize the Congressional Review Act (which allows Congress to repeal agency rules within 60 days of their publication in the Register) to revoke the rule by a simple majority vote. Although now published, the new rule won't go into effect until after the Office of Management and Budget completes its Paperwork Reduction Act review-a process that can take several months-meaning that these challenges may render the rule moot before even implemented.
Future of DACA Remains in Question Despite Supreme Court Ruling. A temporary injunction continues to allow DACA recipients some respite from the scheduled March 5 DACA termination date, but still leaves these individuals in long-term limbo until a permanent legislative fix or final judicial ruling is produced. On February 26, the U.S. Supreme Court denied the Department of Justice's (DOJ) request that the Court rule on the merits of the government's case challenging a district court order that provides a temporary injunction against the planned termination of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. The Court failed to offer any opinion on the actual merits of the case and instead said only that DOJ would need to seek proper appellate level review in the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals before bringing its case to the high court again. The ruling allows the district court's temporary injunction to stand-for now. The government will likely continue its challenge in the 9th Circuit as directed (and bring the case back before the Supreme Court if necessary).
1098-T Reporting. The IRS has not yet issued final regulations on 1098-T reporting following its Notice of Proposed Rulemaking that calls for significant reporting changes to the form.