Happy Veterans Day to all those who have served and continue to serve our country. NACBA appreciates your service!
This is the latest update from Washington, designed to keep NACBA members informed about significant and relevant activity on the part of Congress, regulatory agencies and interest groups/think tanks. Feedback should be directed to Krista.DAmelio@NACBA.com
ON THE HILL Congressman Bob Goodlatte (R-VA), Chairman of the House Committee on Judiciary, announced on Thursday, November 9th that he will not seek reelection in 2018. Goodlatte extend his deepest thanks to the people of Virginia’s Sixth District and advised that there is much he hopes to accomplish in the next year, including: simplifying the tax code in order to stimulate job growth, enacting criminal justice reform, repealing Obamacare, and advancing protections of the freedoms and liberties enshrined in our Constitution.
The House passed H.R. 2201, the Micro Offering Safe Harbor Act, on November 9th. This Act is said to build on Congress’ commitment to give startup businesses the room to grow. By clarifying the rules of the Securities Act to exempt nonpublic offerings—such as funding from family and friends—from unnecessary regulatory burdens, new private companies can operate without fear of unintentionally running afoul of the law.
The House Republicans’ Tax Cuts and Jobs Act calls for eliminating a number of special interest deductions — including those for medical expenses, adoption and student loan interest. This means that millions of Americans would lose the ability to deduct up to $2,500 in student loan interest under the Republican tax bill, a proposal that education advocates say will make college less affordable. Supporters of the measure say the loss will be offset by other provisions in the bill. In 2015, according to the most recent government data available, 12.2 million taxpayers took the student loan deduction, which phases out at higher incomes. Repealing the provision would mean that the cost of student loans for borrowers would increase by some $24 billion over the next decade, according to the group, which represents 1,600 public and private colleges and universities.
On November 1st, President Trump signed a repeal of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s (CFPB) rule on forced arbitration, winning praise from banking and business groups. Trump approved the resolution to repeal the CFPB rule, meant to prevent banks and credit card companies from blocking customers from joining class-action lawsuits against them, in a private Oval Office signing. Democrats and the CFPB criticized Trump, claiming he sides with banks over consumers. They’ve long called for action on forced arbitration, which they say denies fraud victims basic legal rights, and the CFPB rule was the most ambitious effort to regulate the practice.
SPECIAL VETERAN UPDATES ON THE HILL On November 7th the House passed seven Veterans Bills all aimed to help veterans find jobs and receive the health care they need. The seven pieces of legislation that passed are: H.R. 918, Veteran Urgent Access to Mental Healthcare Act, H.R. 1133, Veterans Transplant Coverage Act, H.R. 1900, National Veterans Memorial and Museum Act, H.R. 2123, Veterans E-Health and Telemedicine Support (VETS) Act, H.R. 2601, Veterans Increased Choice for Transplanted Organs and Recovery (VICTOR) Act, H.R. 3634, Securing Electronic Records for Veterans Ease (SERVE) Act, and H.R. 3949, Veterans Apprenticeship and Labor Opportunity Reform (VALOR) Act.
IN THE AGENCIES The Trump administration has signaled to members of an Education Department rulemaking panel that the administration opposes a complete ban on colleges’ use of mandatory arbitration agreements. The department’s negotiated-rulemaking committee is slated to meet next week for the first time to begin hammering out the Trump administration’s replacement for an Obama-era regulatory package known as “borrower defense to repayment.” The rules are aimed at protecting student loan borrowers defrauded by their schools and were halted by Education Secretary Betsy DeVos amid the upcoming rewrite. Consumer advocates and congressional Democrats had advocated for the Education Department’s ban on those practices, which are common at for-profit colleges. Proponents of the ban argue that arbitration can put students at a disadvantage in resolving their complaints and keeps allegations of misconduct against the college secret. Department officials argued in an issue paper on the topic that banning mandatory arbitration agreements and class action waivers violates the Federal Arbitration Act and suggested that the Higher Education Act doesn’t empower them to create such a ban. They also pointed to a resolution President Donald Trump signed last week that overturned the CFPB’s mandatory arbitration rule.