Last week, the Senate released its tax bill, known as the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. Unlike the House bill, the Senate’s version would allow the current exemption for graduate students’ waived tuition to continue. While this is welcome news, as the House and Senate strive to pass final bills before the December recess, the House provision could still prevail when they reconcile their bills.
On Thursday, the House of Representatives Ways and Means Committee released the “Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.” Among many provisions that would affect higher education, the current draft of the bill would make tuition waivers for graduate students subject to income tax, increasing the tax liability of hundreds of thousands of graduate students.
The FY 2018 appropriations process continues to wind on, with the House much farther ahead than the Senate in passing appropriations bills. Humanities advocates have taken action at several critical moments, urging Congress to allocate robust funding to the National Endowment for the Humanities and other humanities programs.
Last Wednesday, the House Appropriations Committee considered the funding bill put forward by the Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies (Labor-H). As noted in a previous post, this bill provided level funding for both IMLS (at $231 million) and the Department of Education’s Title VI international education programs (at $65 million), but eliminated the Fulbright-Hays program entirely.
Late last night, the House Appropriations Committee endorsed the bill that the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies had approved on July 12. As we noted in an earlier post, this bill would provide $145 million each for the NEH and the NEA in FY 2018. While this is a $4.8 million reduction from the FY 2017 levels, we are pleased to see that the full Appropriations Committee followed the subcommittee’s lead in rejecting the president’s proposal to defund the Endowments.
Late last week, the House Appropriations Subcommittee for Labor, Health, Human Services, Education and Related Agencies (Labor-H) passed a funding bill, sending it on to the full committee for consideration. The full committee is scheduled to take up the bill on Wednesday, July 19th at 10am.
Yesterday afternoon, the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies approved a bill that would provide $145 million each for the NEH and the NEA in FY 2018. While this is a $4.8 million reduction from the FY 2017 levels, we read this number as the subcommittee’s strong rejection of the president’s proposal to defund the Endowments.
The Trump Administration’s budget request is nearly uniform in its attack on funding streams that support humanities research, teaching, and programming. The call to eliminate funding for the Department of Education’s International Education Programs (known as Title VI and Fulbright-Hays) is in some ways the most menacing because Congress has tended to be less supportive of these programs in recent years than many of our other priorities.
In the past day, several humanities advocates have expressed concern about language in the Congressional Budget Justification that the National Endowment for the Humanities released on May 23. This document requests $42.307 million for FY 2018 and justifies the request as the amount needed for the “orderly closure of the agency.” It also notes that “no new grants or matching offers will be made beginning in FY 2018.”