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Ways and Means Commission Takes Action to Protect Jewish Students, Help Parents Save for Their Children’s Education, and Stand Up to China – Ways and Means

WASHINGTON – Today, the House Ways and Means Committee introduced legislation that would hold colleges and universities accountable for their failure to protect the civil rights of students, including combating the rampant discrimination that Jewish students faced last school year. Similarly, the Committee approved a policy to update the gift tax formula to align the tax code’s treatment of students on college campuses with the Higher Education Act. This legislation follows a months-long investigation by the Committee into the outbreak of anti-Semitism at some of the nation’s most prestigious universities, which found:

  • Weak university authorities fail to protect students, enforce campus rules, or punish students and faculty who break such rules or regulations;
  • Radical lecturers emboldened students to engage in anti-Semitic activities and themselves disregarded university policy;
  • Unclear foreign influences, including the presence of foreign students and faculty, have contributed to increased discriminatory activities on campus.

The committee also approved a bill to allow 529 accounts to cover K-12 education and career or technical training costs, and a resolution for the Congressional Review Act to invalidate a Biden administration regulation that allows the Chinese Communist Party to use U.S. tax money to produce electric vehicles and their components.

Click Here to watch Chairman Smith’s opening statement.

In his opening statement: Ways and Means Committee Chairman Jason Smith (MO-08) stressed the need for significant consequences for universities that refuse to take action against the wave of anti-Semitism on campus:

“The legislation before us today will impose real financial consequences on universities that continue to turn a blind eye to anti-Semitism while allowing a small group to run their campuses.

“At the previous hearing, a Jewish student testified that the only significant change on campus was the House Republican-led investigation. We must ensure that these universities rise to the occasion and begin to protect Jewish students under federal law.”

Chairman Smith also noted that legislation expanding 529 accounts helps parents save for their children’s education and supports students who want to learn a trade or skill rather than pursue a four-year degree:

“Our Committee has focused on ways to improve K-12 and postsecondary education in other ways as well. In October, parents and leaders shared powerful testimonies of how their lives have changed as they have access to more paths to quality education and employment opportunities. The message was clear: parents want to be able to provide their children with a better education and more opportunities for a brighter future… A four-year degree is not right for everyone. Americans who want to learn a trade or skill deserve the same chance to pursue their dreams. That’s why this bill covers tuition, fees, books and other costs associated with technical training.”

Speaking about the passage of the Congressional Review Act to block the Biden administration’s pro-China and anti-tax regulations, the Chairman noted that if President Biden vetoed the bill, there would be consequences:

“If President Biden vetoes this CRA bill, he will leave the door wide open to turning the American taxpayer into China’s piggy bank.”

This University Liability Act (HR8914)

Submitted by Rep. Nicole Malliotakis (R-NY)The bill imposes new financial penalties on colleges that a federal court finds violate the civil rights of students, including discriminating against Jewish students.

  • Bill imposes a financial penalty on schools against which a civil judgment has been issued by a federal court for violating a student’s civil rights under Title VI of the Civil Rights Act.
  • Colleges and universities that meet the criteria for punishment will be required to pay a fine of 5 percent of the school’s total administrative salary reported on Form 990 or $100,000, whichever is greater.

Read the short note here.

The committee adopted the bill by a vote of 24 to 12.

This American Students Protection Act (HR8913)
Submitted by Rep. Drew Ferguson (R-GA)The bill aims to encourage American colleges and universities to admit more American students.

  • The bill changes the formula for calculating gift tax to fits the definition used in Higher Education Act to determine whether a student is eligible to receive federal financial aid.
  • This does not apply to students who are in the U.S. temporarily or on a student visa.
  • This bill encourages universities that receive generous tax breaks from the U.S. federal government to admit more American students or devote a larger share of their trust funds to these students to avoid gift tax.
  • This bill would impose a foundation tax on about 10-12 additional schools, all of them could avoid paying tax by admitting more American students or allocating funds for this purpose.

Read the short note here.

The committee adopted the bill by a vote of 24 to 13.

This Act on Education and Professional Freedom (HR8915)
Submitted by Rep. Kevin Hern (R-OK)This law helps parents save for their children’s education and helps students acquire professional or technical qualifications or licenses.

  • It enables American families, students and workers the ability to choose the education that best suits their needs allowing you to use tax-free distributions from 529 plans for additional educational expenses associated with attending a K-12 school (including homeschooling).
  • It also allows you to use Forms 529 to cover expenses associated with obtaining or maintaining recognized higher education credentials and licenses.

Read the short note here.

The committee adopted the bill by a vote of 23 to 13.

Congressional Review of Electric Vehicle Tax Credit Legislation Act (HJ Res 148)
Submitted by Rep. Carol Miller (R-WV)The bill opposes Biden’s Treasury Department regulation that allows U.S. taxpayer money to go to Chinese electric vehicle companies.

  • Biden’s Treasury Department has finalized a light-touch rule that would allow Chinese billionaires with unofficial ties to the Chinese Communist Party and Chinese battery makers to receive U.S. tax subsidies.
  • According to a final order issued by the Biden administration, Chinese materials can be used to make electric vehicles and still qualify for the credit, which contradicts the clear wording and intent of the law.
  • Pursuant to H.J.Res. 148, The Biden administration’s China-friendly electric vehicle provisions in the so-called Inflation Reduction Act will be invalidatedincluding the new rules announced in the Final Regulation as well as the regulations proposed earlier.

Read the short note here.

The committee adopted the bill by a vote of 25 to 14.

Committee hearings
These comments are based on numerous Ways and Means Committee hearings in which members heard from Americans directly affected by the issues raised by each bill.

SUMMARY: Seven key moments from Ways & Means hearing on the links between anti-Semitism, tax-exempt universities and terrorism financing

SUMMARY: Six Key Moments: Hearing on Anti-Semitism on College Campuses

SUMMARY: Seven Key Moments from Ways and Means Meeting on Educational Freedom and Opportunity

SUMMARY: Four key takeaways from Ways and Means hearing on US tax code, green corporate donations and the Chinese Communist Party