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Chairman Steve Chabot Hails Passage of Historic Tax Reform

House Small Business Committee News - Tue, 12/19/2017 - 12:00am

WASHINGTON—Today, House Committee on Small Business Chairman Steve Chabot (R-OH) released the following statement on the passage of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act Conference Report:

It is a new day in America: from Cincinnati to Silicon Valley, hardworking families and the 29 million small businesses fueling our economy will see a real decrease in the taxes they pay and a growth in their paychecks,” said Chairman Chabot.

I am proud to have worked with our Republican majorities in the House and the Senate to fulfill a promise that we made to cut taxes and reform our 31-year-old, outdated, and archaic tax code. By doing so, we’re delivering a middle class miracle to everyday Americans.”

Small Business Wins:      

  • Levels the playing field for small businesses by providing a 20 percent deduction on qualified small business income. 
  • Allows businesses to immediately write off the full cost of new equipment which will improve operations and enhance the skills of their workers—unleashing growth of jobs, productivity, and paychecks.
  • Protects the ability of small businesses to write off interest on loans, helping these Main Street entrepreneurs start or expand a business, hire workers, and increase paychecks.

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FDA Cannot Remain MIA as States’, Cities’ Drug-Litigation Crusade Threatens Regulatory Uniformity

WLF Legal Pulse - Mon, 12/18/2017 - 11:34am
A November 30, 2017 post discussed the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) return to third-party courtroom advocacy for national, uniform regulation of products under its authority. In separate amicus briefs, the agency argued that federal law preempted both New York City’s enforcement of an expanded menu-labeling ordinance and certain claims in a products-liability suit against …

Continue reading FDA Cannot Remain MIA as States’, Cities’ Drug-Litigation Crusade Threatens Regulatory Uniformity

Categories: Latest News

Chairman Chabot Responds to NLRB Decision to Restore Joint Employer Definition

House Small Business Committee News - Mon, 12/18/2017 - 12:00am

WASHINGTON – House Committee on Small Business Chairman Steve Chabot (R-OH) released the following statement after the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) overruled the 2015 Browning-Ferris Industries decision and reinstated the prior joint-employer standard:

“I commend the NLRB for its decision to restore the common sense definition of a joint employer that the Obama Administration reversed. The only way to ensure that this standard remains in place, and that small businesses have certainty that they will remain local and independent, is Congressional action.”

Chairman Chabot is an original cosponsor of H.R. 3441, the Save Local Business Act, to reverse the NLRB’s decision expanding the definition of the joint employer standard, and earlier this year, sent a letter to the House Education and Workforce Committee in support of the bill. H.R. 3441 passed the House on November 8, 2017.

Chairman Chabot Commends House Passage of Save Local Business Act

The Committee first held a roundtable in April 2015 on the issue. NLRB then expanded its definition of the joint employer standard in August 2015. In March 2016, the Committee held a hearing titled, “Risky Business: Effects of New Joint Employer Standards for Small Firms” to examine the negative impact of the rule on small businesses.

FTC Pharma Workshop Focuses on Supply Chain Issues and “Gamesmanship” of FDA Regulation

WLF Legal Pulse - Fri, 12/15/2017 - 9:00am
Featured Expert Column: Antitrust & Competition Policy — Federal Trade Commission By M. Sean Royall, a Partner with Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP, with Richard H. Cunningham, Of Counsel in the firm’s Denver, CO office, and Abiel Garcia, an Associate Attorney in the firm’s Los Angeles, CA office. On November 8, 2017, the Federal Trade Commission hosted …

Continue reading FTC Pharma Workshop Focuses on Supply Chain Issues and “Gamesmanship” of FDA Regulation

Categories: Latest News

Thune: Now that FCC has acted, Congress Should Too

WASHINGTON –  U.S. Sen. John Thune, chairman of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, issued the following statement on today’s Federal Communications Commission (FCC) vote to approve the “Restoring Internet Freedom Order.”

“Now that the FCC has acted to reverse an ill-conceived regulatory scheme, Congress must take the lead in setting a clear path forward through bipartisan legislation to avoid the risk of regulatory back and forth. As I did before the Obama Administration first put its rules into place in 2015, I favor Congress enacting net neutrality protections and establishing sensible limits on the power of regulators. I call on Democrats and Republicans who want to preserve a free and open internet to work together on permanent consumer protections.”

Nelson Statement on FCC Repeal of Net Neutrality Rules

 WASHINGTON - U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL), the ranking member of the Senate Commerce Committee, issued the following statement on today’s 3-2 vote by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to dismantle the Obama-era net neutrality rules:

“Today, in a strictly partisan vote, FCC Republicans turned their backs on consumers by voting to give internet providers the ability to decide what websites their customers see, how fast they see them and how much they are going to have to pay for access,” Nelson said.  “Congress needs to fix the mess the FCC has now created with a lasting solution that will fully protect consumers and preserve the FCC’s authority.  Securing these protections will be difficult and won’t happen quickly given the current political climate in Congress.  But, for the sake of consumers, we have to continue to try.”

Second Circuit Improperly Ducks Important First Amendment Issues

WLF Legal Pulse - Thu, 12/14/2017 - 10:35am
The U.S. Supreme Court has repeatedly held that federal courts are under a “virtually unflagging” obligation to hear and decide federal claims over which they possess jurisdiction.  Yet, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit has repeatedly refused to decide a First Amendment challenge to a New York statute that restricts merchants’ ability …

Continue reading Second Circuit Improperly Ducks Important First Amendment Issues

Categories: Latest News

Chairman Chabot Seeks Information from IRS on the Effect of Obamacare on Small Businesses

House Small Business Committee News - Thu, 12/14/2017 - 12:00am

WASHINGTON – This week, House Committee on Small Business Chairman Steve Chabot (R-OH) sent a letter to David Kautter, Acting Commissioner of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), requesting more information about the IRS’s recent enforcement of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) employer mandate.

While ACA exempted businesses with 50 or fewer employees from the employer mandate, businesses with 51 or more employees who work 30 or more hours a week were classified as applicable large employers and were made subject to inflation adjusted shared responsibility payments if they had not offered ACA qualified health insurance.

The ACA’s definition of large employers is out of line with the rest of the federal government and the Obama Administration failed to enforce this rule for years.

 “While the IRS, like other federal agencies, is obligated to enforce the laws under its jurisdiction, this sudden change has caught and will catch many employers by surprise,” said Chairman Chabot. “After the Obama-era IRS failed to enforce the law for several years, these small businesses are now subject to random and abrupt collection of these payments by the IRS.”

The full letter to the IRS can be read HERE.

The House Committee on Small Business has heard testimony from numerous small business employees and owners about how Obamacare has cost jobs and opportunities in communities across the United States and needs to be repealed and replaced. 

Use and Exposure Information on Five PBT Chemicals

Office of Advocacy - Wed, 12/13/2017 - 12:51pm

The amended Toxic Substance Control Act requires EPA to take expedited regulatory action under section 6(a) for certain persistent, bioaccumulative, and toxic (PBT) chemicals; the chemicals subject to this expedited action must meet the statutory criteria in section 6(h) and must be drawn from the 2014 update of the TSCA Work Plan for Chemical Assessments. Specifically, EPA is directed to move forward without completing a risk evaluation.

Categories: Latest News, SBA Advocate

Senate Commerce Approves NTSB Reauthorization, Other Agenda Items

WASHINGTON – Today the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation approved legislation reforming and reauthorizing the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) through 2023, and bills reauthorizing a successful drought information initiative and earthquake hazards reduction. The committee also voted to confirm the nominee to serve as Under Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere and numerous Coast Guard promotions subject to Senate confirmation.

Bills and nominations considered are as follows (approved by voice vote unless otherwise noted):

1.     S. 2202, National Transportation Safety Board Reauthorization Act, Sponsors: Sens. John Thune (R-S.D.), Bill Nelson (D-Fla.), Deb Fischer (R-Neb), Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.)

  1. Thune substitute
  2. Blumenthal 2

2.     S. 2200, National Integrated Drought Information System Reauthorization Act of 2018, Sponsor: Sens. John Thune (R-S.D.), Bill Nelson (D-Fla.), Deb Fischer (R-Neb.)

  1. Thune substitute

3.     S. 1768, National Earthquake Hazards Reduction Program Reauthorization Act of 2017, Sponsors: Sens. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.), Cory Gardner (R-Colo.), Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), Patty Murray (D-Wash.), Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska), Ron Wyden (D-Ore.)

  1. Gardner substitute

4.     Nomination of Barry Lee Myers, of Pennsylvania, to be Under Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere (agreed by roll call vote: 14-13)

5.     Nominations for Promotion in the United States Coast Guard

Executive Session

The U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation will hold an executive session on Wednesday, December 13, 2017 at 10:00 a.m. in Hart 216 to consider the following legislative measures and nominations.

Click here for additional information on nominees.

Agenda:

1.     S. 2202, National Transportation Safety Board Reauthorization Act, Sponsors: Sens. John Thune (R-S.D.), Bill Nelson (D-Fla.), Deb Fischer (R-Neb), Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Roy Blunt (R-Mo.)

2.     S. 2200, National Integrated Drought Information System Reauthorization Act of 2018, Sponsor: Sens. John Thune (R-S.D.), Bill Nelson (D-Fla.)

3.     S. 1768, National Earthquake Hazards Reduction Program Reauthorization Act of 2017, Sponsors: Sens. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.), Cory Gardner (R-Colo.), Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), Patty Murray (D-Wash.), Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska), Ron Wyden (D-Ore.)

4.     Nomination of Barry Lee Myers, of Pennsylvania, to be Under Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere

5.     Coast Guard Promotions 

*Agenda subject to change

Executive Session Details: 

Wednesday, December 13, 2017
10:00 a.m.
Full Committee Markup
Senate Hart Building 216

<p>Good morning.&nbsp; Before we begin

Good morning.  Before we begin our eighth and likely final executive session of the year, I wanted to take a moment to reflect on all the Committee has accomplished this year and thank all of you for your hard work and cooperation.    

The Committee has held 33 full Committee hearings and an additional 30 Subcommittee hearings. 

After today, our Committee will have processed 47 pieces of legislation, 28 of which have passed the full Senate as standalone measures or as parts of larger bills.  And, as of yesterday, seven of these have been signed into law. 

The Committee has also spent a considerable amount of time this year considering nominations.  Of our 32 full Committee hearings, a dozen have been confirmation hearings.  After today, this hard work will have resulted in 32 nominations and over 250 Coast Guard promotions being successfully reported to the full Senate.  

While I had hoped that the full Senate would have been able to confirm a few more of these well qualified individuals by now, I am proud to say 19 of the Committee’s nominees are currently serving in the Executive Branch.  

Again, thank you all for your hard work this year.  I look forward to another productive year in 2018.

Now we turn to today’s agenda, which includes three legislative items, one nomination, and almost 300 Coast Guard promotions.

The first item on today’s agenda, the NTSB Reauthorization Act, sponsored by Senators Nelson, Fisher, Booker, Blunt, Cantwell, and myself, reauthorizes the Board through 2023 and makes several reforms to modernize it and improve transparency.

We rely on the NTSB to investigate tragic transportation accidents and inform Congress, the Department of Transportation, and the public on any safety recommendations necessary to prevent similar accidents in the future. 

The improvements and reforms in our bill will help ensure this important work continues. 

We are also considering the National Integrated Drought Information System Reauthorization Act, sponsored by Senator Nelson and myself, today. 

As last year’s drought in my home state of South Dakota reminded folks, having timely and accurate drought monitoring is critical to those affected by severe weather conditions. 

Our bill will encourage important partnerships with the private sector, integrate seasonal and subseasonal drought and water forecasts, and support ongoing soil moisture monitoring to better aid farmers.

The primary nominee we are considering today, Mr. Barry Myers, has been tapped to lead the agency that spearheads our forecasting efforts, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration or NOAA. 

Mr. Myers has dedicated his entire career to the weather forecasting enterprise and will bring that same commitment to NOAA.  I am hopeful that his nomination can be considered as soon as possible by the full Senate. 

And, as I just mentioned, we will be considering over 250 Coast Guard promotions. 

We all appreciate the service and sacrifice these brave men and women make each day, but I wanted to particularly recognize one of these individuals – Captain Tom Allan, who will be promoted to Rear Admiral. 

As many Members of this Committee and our staff know, Captain Allan served as head of Congressional Affairs for the Coast Guard.  Captain Allan and his team’s hard work has always been top notch and appreciated.  I thank him for his continued dedication to the Coast Guard and our Nation. 

With that, I will turn to Senator Nelson for any opening remarks.  

Ranking Member Bill Nelson Opening Statement

Mr. Chairman, before we get started, I would like to say a few words about the nomination before us of Barry Myers to be the administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, or NOAA.

At this committee’s hearing on Mr. Myers’ nomination last month, I questioned whether we could be sure that Mr. Myers would refrain from involving himself in NOAA decisions affecting AccuWeather - the company owned by his brothers and which Mr. Myers himself previously ran. While Mr. Myers is clearly knowledgeable about our national weather program, I remain concerned about whether conflicts of interest due to his family connections with AccuWeather can, or will, be avoided. 

If Mr. Myers is confirmed, I will work with and support him in his efforts to make his time at NOAA successful. However, it is imperative that he demonstrate that he will approach this position as a public service role – not as another private sector job. Running this agency, which deals with life or death scenarios, demands that its administrator represent the public, first and foremost.

Unfortunately, when questioned by Senator Schatz at his nomination hearing, Mr. Myers was unable to say that his perspective would change as he transitioned from the private sector to take on this public role. In fact, he was unable to come up a single instance where, if confirmed, he might be at odds with his former employer, AccuWeather. He even refused to acknowledge that his support of the Santorum bill in 2005 would have prohibited the weather service from offering a product or service that is or could be provided by the private sector and would have benefitted his own company.

NOAA is doing important work nationwide – from providing forecasting to managing fisheries, conducting climate research, helping coastal communities plan for the future, and much more. As I have said before, we need a NOAA administrator who will safeguard the critical mission of this important agency, without any conflicts of interests. I am not convinced that Barry Myers is that man, and I will be voting against his nomination today, but with the hope that Mr. Myers will prove me wrong about my conflict of interest concerns.

With that Mr. Chairman, let’s proceed.

39 Senators Call on FCC Chairman Pai to Abandon 'Reckless' Plan to End Net Neutrality

WASHINGTON - More than three dozen senators joined Senate Commerce Committee Ranking Member Bill Nelson (D-FL) on a letter today urging Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Ajit Pai to abandon his plan to repeal the agency’s net neutrality rules in favor of giving internet providers the ability to freely block or slow down consumers’ access to the internet.

The senators’ letter comes ahead of a Thursday vote by the FCC to dismantle the net neutrality protections. 

“Your plan gives a broadband provider the ability to significantly alter their subscribers’ internet experience,” the lawmakers wrote.  “Once adopted, this proposal will permit that provider to freely block, slow down or manipulate a consumer’s access to the internet as long as it discloses those practices – no matter how anti-consumer – somewhere within mounds of legalese in a new “net neutrality” policy.  …It is a stunning regulatory overreach.”

Joining Nelson on the letter to the FCC Chair were Brian Schatz (D-HI), Jack Reed (D-RI), Gary C. Peters (D-MI), Patty Murray (D-WA), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Mazie K. Hirono (D-HI), Jon Tester (D-MT), Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), Edward J. Markey (D-MA), Angus S. King, Jr. (I-ME), Charles E. Schumer (D-NY), Robert P. Casey (D-PA), Maria Cantwell (D-WA), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Ron Wyden (D-OR), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Jeffrey A. Merkley (D-OR), Patrick J. Leahy (D-VT), Kamala D. Harris (D-CA), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Bernard Sanders (I-VT), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Tom Udall (D-NM), Margaret Wood Hassan (D-NH), Martin Heinrich (D-NM), Al Franken  (D-MN), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Benjamin L. Cardin (D-MD),Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV), Cory A. Booker  (D-NJ), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Richard J. Durbin (D-IL), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Christopher Murphy (D-CT), Tim Kaine (D-VA) and Robert Menendez (D-NJ).

Text of the letter is below.  To view a pdf of the letter, click here.

 

VIDEO: Thune Commends FCC’s Internet Freedom Order

“If my colleagues on the other side of the aisle, and those who claim to support net neutrality rules, want to enshrine protections for consumers with the backing of the law, I call on you today to join me in discussing legislation to do just that.”...

Digital Decision-Making: The Building Blocks of Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence

U.S. Sen. Roger Wicker (R-Miss.), chairman of the Subcommittee on Communications, Technology, Innovation, and the Internet, will convene a hearing titled “Digital Decision-Making: The Building Blocks of Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence,” at 10:00 a.m. on Tuesday, December 12, 2017. The hearing will examine the benefits of artificial intelligence (AI) in today’s digital economy, the development of algorithms powering AI, and what practices are in place or should be in place to ensure proper use of this technology.

Witnesses: 

    - Dr. Cindy Bethel, Associate Professor, Department of Computer Science and Engineering, Mississippi State University
    - Mr. Daniel Castro, Vice President, Information Technology and Innovation Foundation
    - Ms. Victoria Espinel, Chief Executive Officer, The Software Alliance
    - Dr. Dario Gil, Vice President, AI and IBM Q, IBM

Hearing Details:

Tuesday, December 12, 2017
10:00 a.m.
Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation

This hearing will take place in Russell Senate Office Building, Room 253. Witness testimony, opening statements, and a live video of the hearing will be available on www.commerce.senate.gov.

National Ocean Policy: Stakeholder Perspectives,

U.S. Sen. Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska), chairman of the Subcommittee on Oceans, Atmosphere, Fisheries, and Coast Guard, will convene a hearing titled “National Ocean Policy: Stakeholder Perspectives,” at 2:30 p.m. on Tuesday, December 12, 2017. The hearing will examine the state of the National Ocean Policy and the program’s interaction with existing laws and regulations for ocean management. 

Witnesses:

    - Ms. Bonnie Brady, Executive Director, Long Island Commercial Fishing Association  
    - Mr. Christopher Guith, Senior Vice President, Global Energy Institute, U.S. Chamber of Commerce
    - Mr. Dan Keppen, Executive Director, Family Farm Alliance 
    - Ms. Kathy Metcalf, President and CEO, Chamber of Shipping of America

Hearing Details:

Tuesday, December 12, 2017
2:30 p.m.
Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation

This hearing will take place in Russell Senate Office Building, Room 253. Witness testimony, opening statements, and a live video of the hearing will be available on www.commerce.senate.gov.

Chairman Chabot Applauds President Trump’s Signing of the NDAA

House Small Business Committee News - Tue, 12/12/2017 - 12:00am

WASHINGTON—Today, House Committee on Small Business Chairman Steve Chabot (R-OH) released the following statement after President Trump signed the Fiscal Year 2018 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) into law:

“Today is a great day for our nation’s military and our nation’s entrepreneurs and innovators. I applaud the President for signing this overwhelmingly bipartisan bill that not only funds our military, but also is a win for America’s 29 million small businesses.”

Some small business-friendly provisions signed into law include:

  • H.R. 1773, the Clarity for America’s Small Contractors Act of 2017, sponsored by Chairman Steve Chabot (R-OH), co-sponsored by Ranking Member Nydia Velázquez (D-NY)
  • H.R. 3294, the HUBZone Unification and Business Stability Act  of 2017, sponsored by Ranking Member Nydia Velázquez (D-NY) and Chairman Steve Chabot (R-OH)
  • H.R. 1597, the Commercial Market Representatives Clarification Act of 2017, sponsored by Rep. Dave Brat (R-VA), co-sponsored by Rep. Steve Knight (R-CA) and Rep. Stephanie Murphy (D-FL); and
  • H.R. 1693, the Improving Contract Procurement for Small Businesses through More Accurate Reporting Act of 2017, sponsored by Rep. Yvette Clarke (D-NY), co-sponsored by Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA)

Note: Chairman Chabot, upon the passage of the NDAA conference report, said, “Small businesses play a vital and indispensable role in providing for the common defense, and I thank both Chambers for recognizing their contribution to the safety of our homeland.

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Opening Statement by Chairwoman Virginia Foxx (R-NC) | Markup of H.R. 4508, the PROSPER Act

Education & the Workforce Committee - Tue, 12/12/2017 - 12:00am
We are here today to consider H.R. 4508, the Promoting Real Opportunity, Success, and Prosperity through Education Reform Act—the PROSPER Act.

We have a lot of work ahead of us today, so in the hopes of leading by example, I will keep my remarks brief.

It is my belief that lifelong learning is what enables Americans to pursue the lives they want for themselves. The desire for lifelong learning is not always developed in a semester-by-semester or a 2, 4, or 6 year degree program. It is an individual and deeply personal calling that drives people to learn more about the world around them, and in turn, learn more about themselves. 

Lifelong learning is the root of all innovation, which, in this country, has always been the foundation for real prosperity.

It was the desire to be a lifelong learner that helped me persevere through the seven long years it took for me to become the first member of my family to earn a baccalaureate degree.

I saw that same desire for lifelong learning in the students I worked with for many years as a college instructor, academic advisor, and administrator. 

The conversations I had with those students over the years have stayed with me as we have worked toward this markup today. Those students came from different backgrounds, different communities, all kinds of family structures, and were all ages. But they asked the same questions—the same questions I asked: 

“Can I finish this program on time?”

“Can I finish this program at all?”

“How am I ever going to pay for this?”

“Will I get a job when I graduate?”

“Is all of this work even worth it?”

The times have changed, but for any student in any sector of higher education, the questions have not. That is why we’re here today.

Today, there are six million unfilled jobs in this country. Those jobs are unfilled because many employers have found that applicants lack the needed skills for those jobs.

Today, Americans carry more than a trillion dollars in student debt. Somehow, despite the six types of federal student loans, nine repayment plans, eight forgiveness programs, and 32 deferment and forbearance options out there, college costs continue to surge, leaving millions of families paying the price for well-intentioned but poorly executed federal involvement.

That is why this bill is before us today. No Americans—no matter their walk of life—can afford for us to simply reauthorize the Higher Education Act (HEA). They need us to reform it.

The members of this committee have much to be proud of, not just in this bill, but over the course of this year. This spring, when we worked together to introduce, mark up, and see the House pass the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act, we sent a clear message to the overwhelming majority of Americans who do not have a baccalaureate degree.

We affirmed the simple fact that all education is career education, and that their options and their choices mattered to us. We showed them that we agreed with them that there is real dignity and value in pursuing a technical skills-based education that allows them to be the best they could be in the careers they really wanted to pursue.

The PROSPER Act sends that same message to those who believe that a postsecondary education is the key to their future success. It reforms federal education policies to allow, not hinder, the pursuit of lifelong learning, wherever that may lead.

It promotes innovation, access, and completion—for students. It simplifies and improves student aid—for students. It empowers students and families to make informed decisions, and it ensures strong accountability and a limited federal role so institutions spend less time complying with outdated federal requirements and spend more time and resources on what’s really important—the students.

No bill is perfect when it begins its course through the legislative process, and we can all agree that no bill is perfect when it reaches the end of the legislative process. But we are here today because we cannot allow the status quo to continue. High school students, stay-at-home moms, single parents working multiple jobs to make ends meet, older Americans who still have so much to offer—these are just a few examples of those looking to postsecondary options to help them live a successful life.

I thank the members of this committee who have worked together so diligently with these Americans, our constituents, in mind. The PROSPER Act is for them.

To read the PDF version, click here.

To learn more about the PROSPER Act, click here.

# # #

Opening Statement by Rep. Brett Guthrie (R-KY) | Markup of H.R. 4508, the PROSPER Act

Education & the Workforce Committee - Tue, 12/12/2017 - 12:00am

I am proud to be a cosponsor of the PROSPER Act, and truly believe the measures within this bill are essential to improve access, completion, and accountability across the higher education system. Most importantly, it will provide students with the opportunity to complete an education that will put them one step closer to achieving the American Dream.

I will echo what Chairwoman Foxx has said in the past to members of this committee as we crafted the PROSPER Act: we are in the business of reforming higher education, not just reauthorizing the Higher Education Act.

A simple reauthorization of the 1965 law will not address the needs of our current workforce that is over 6 million skilled workers short, nor will it reverse the $1.4 trillion of outstanding student loan debt that is placing a drag on the economy.

These facts have stayed with me as the full committee and my subcommittee held twenty-six hearings in the 113th, 114th, and 115th Congresses on issues within higher education. Four of those hearings were held during this Congress alone.

Each of those hearings touched on how the current higher education system is in need of reforms to meet the needs of students, families, future workers, and the employers of tomorrow.

I’m also happy to say that many of the issues discussed in those hearings are addressed in the PROSPER Act.

While the conversations we have had in this committee have been essential to the PROSPER Act in its current form, there are conversations that we have conducted that are even more important: those with our constituents.

Many people have expressed their concerns about the lack of flexibility in grant and loan programs for potential students seeking advanced studies, and others have shared the difficulties associated with earning a traditional degree and finding a good-paying job.

Those who share these concerns are not alone. A September Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll found that 49% of Americans believe a four-year degree will actually lead to a good job and pay and only 47% of Americans aren’t sure college is worth it anymore.

These numbers emphasize that the status quo in higher education is not enough to serve students, families, or institutions, so it is time we change the status quo with meaningful reforms.

The stories I have heard from students and families in Kentucky have been a constant reminder for the need to stop simply talking about reforming higher education; it’s time to actually put forward a bill that achieves needed reforms.

As chairman of the Subcommittee on Higher Education and Workforce Development, it has been a privilege of mine to work with Chairwoman Foxx and members of this committee to introduce a bill with real reforms to address the needs of today’s students, as well as the needs of the institutions they attend.

Within the PROSPER Act, we are promoting completion, helping institutions evolve to meet the changing needs of students and the workforce, improving the complex and costly student financial aid system, and promoting accountability for institutions. Additionally, we are giving students a pipeline to the workforce, which is something never before addressed in higher education legislation.

To read the PDF version, click here.

To learn more about the PROSPER Act, click here.

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