After weeks of negotiation between Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and both Republican and Democrat Congressional leaders, the House and Senate passed a bill that suspends the debt ceiling for two years, halts potential sequestration cuts, and agrees on a $2.7 trillion top-line appropriation number. President Donald Trump signed the bill into law shortly thereafter.
The Bipartisan Budget Act of 2019 includes slight funding increases for defense and non-defense programs but drew criticism from some fiscal conservatives in both parties, who say the bill features irresponsible spending. Most notably, now that the bill is passed, lawmakers can begin the work of appropriating the agreed-upon budget dollars among the 12 yearly appropriations bills that fund the federal government. While lawmakers have regularly missed the October 1 deadline for appropriations in recent years, leaders of both parties have expressed some optimism about agreeing on all 12 bills on time this year.
Of particular interest to higher education, and the entire nonprofit community, is the potential for the these appropriations bills to contain repeal provisions of unpopular portions of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 (TCJA). The TCJA’s parking and transportation unrelated business income tax (UBIT), the UBIT basketing requirement, and even the net investment income tax on colleges and universities each have at least some potential for repeal as Congress begins drafting appropriations legislation.