The Legsislative Ledger

 December 2012
From the States
Dust settles after 2012 election

After months of campaigning and more than $4 billion spent, President Barack Obama was re-elected on Nov. 6. President Obama's path to victory was comprised of winning 332 electoral votes and carrying 26 states along with Washington, D.C. While many factors influenced this presidential election, healthcare played a pivotal role and the implementation of the Affordable Care Act is slated to move forward.

 

In addition to the presidential race, 79 new members were elected to the U.S. House of Representatives. While control of both the House and Senate remain unchanged, the 113th Congress will include a record high of females and minorities representing their constituents. President Obama and Congress' immediate concern surrounds the looming fiscal cliff: the combination of previously unresolved financial issues, such as the debt ceiling dispute and the expiration of the Bush tax cuts. Democrats and Republicans alike are working to avoid going over the fiscal cliff, however discussions of compromise have proven unsuccessful in the past weeks.

 

ASDA and others within organized dentistry anticipate an active federal legislative season. ASDA will be monitoring the issues that affect dental students and working to promote ASDA policy at the national level.

Affordable Care Act's Medical Device Tax set to increase industry's federal tax liability

The Advanced Medical Technology Association (AdvaMed) issued a report prepared by Ernst & Young LLP, which focused on the new 2.3 percent medical device excise tax. The report was issued as the industry gears up for lobbying to repeal the excise tax created by the Affordable Care Act (ACA) that will go into effect Jan. 1, 2013. Read more in the November ADEA Washington Update. 

Federal student aid issues for the Obama administration and the 113th congress

There remain several outstanding student aid issues that higher education institutions and organizations expect to be on the agenda of the 113th Congress and the White House. According to the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators (NASFAA), the 113th Congress will have to address the following student aid issues over the next two years:

  • Student Loan Interest Rates: While Congress passed a one-year extension of the 3.4 percent interest rate for Direct Subsidized Stafford Loans, preventing the rate from increasing to 6.8 percent, it will need to address this issue again before July 1, 2013, to prevent the interest rate on these loans from increasing. 
  • Read more of these student aid issues.  

Read more in the November ADEA Washington Update

NIH reduces funding, awards only non-competitive grants
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) will reduce funding until Fiscal Year (FY) 2013 appropriations are enacted. NIH will do so by issuing only non-competing research grant awards at a level below the most recent Notice of Award. This is consistent with its practice during the past six (6) fiscal year cycles. The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), including the NIH, is operating under a Continuing Resolution (CR) (H. J. Resolution 117) that was signed by President Obama on Sept. 28, 2012. Read more in the October ADEA Washington Update. 
Default rate on federal student loan rises among borrowers

The U.S. Department of Education released new data showing the student loan default rate for 2008-2010 increased to 8.8 percent. Default rates, which are released annually, are important to higher education institutions because they are a factor in eligibility for federal student-aid programs. Institutions are barred from receiving federal student aid if their two-year default rates are 25 percent or higher for three consecutive years, or if they spike above 40 percent in a single year. Read more in the October ADEA Washington Update.

U.S. Department of Education announces new loan servicing initiatives

On Nov. 9, 2012, the U.S. Department of Education (Department) announced that it will be implementing two initiatives in November and December 2012 to improve loan portfolio management needs. In efforts to improve the servicing of the William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan (Direct Loan) Program and the Federal Family Education Loan (FFEL) Program, the Department will assign newly-made traditional direct consolidation loans to one of two servicers: FedLoan Servicing (PHEAA) and Sallie Mae. Read more in the November ADEA Washington Update. 

New tool to improve income-based loan repayment process

Officials from the White House and the U.S. Department of Education recently announced a new tool to streamline the application process for the Income-Based Loan Repayment (IBR) Program. Under current IBR criteria, eligible borrowers will pay no more than 15 percent of their discretionary income and receive loan forgiveness at the 25-year mark. Beginning in 2014, eligible borrowers will pay no more than 10 percent of their discretionary income and receive loan forgiveness after 20 years. October ADEA Washington Update

From the States
Elections' impact on state legislative chambers 

Before the November elections, Republicans controlled 59 state legislative chambers, including both houses in 26 states, and Democrats controlled 36 chambers, including both houses in 15 states-with the Alaska Senate, Oregon House and Virginia Senate all tied. But with the elections, Democrats now control both chambers in Maine and Minnesota, along with the New York Senate and the houses of Oregon, Colorado, and New Hampshire. Republicans took control of both chambers in Arkansas, as well as the Alaska and Wisconsin senates, the latter of which had briefly switched to Democratic control after the recall election in June. Read more in the November ADEA State Update. 

Results of state ballot measures affecting higher education   

Several states placed measures on the general election ballot that directly impact higher education policy:

  • California: proposed measure Proposition 30 provides for temporary increases in sales and personal income taxes to generate an estimated $6 billion in revenue to prevent significant funding cuts to universities and community colleges. The measure was approved by 53.9 percent of voters.
  • Read about the other states that placed measures on the general election ballot.  

From the November ADEA State Update 

Kansas votes against community water fluoridation    
During the summer of 2012, the Wichita, Kansas City Council unanimously passed a measure to allow voters to decide whether fluoride should be added to the drinking water. The City Council voted to place the issue of community water fluoridation on the November election ballot. On Nov. 6 the citizens of Wichita voted against adding fluoride to its community drinking water. Read more in the November ADEA State Update.
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services invests $229.4 million in NHSC    
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced that $229.4 million was invested in the National Health Service Corps (NHSC) in 2012 to support more physicians, dentists, and nurses, and increase access to primary care. These investments included nearly 4,600 loan repayment and scholarship awards to clinicians and students, and grants to 32 states to support state loan repayment programs. Read more in the November ADEA State Update.

For more information, please contact ASDA governance and advocacy manager, Andrew Smith.  

In This Issue
- After the 2012 Election
- ACA's Device Tax to Increase Federal Tax Liability
- Federal Student Aid Issues
- NIH Reduces Funding
- Default Rates Increasing
- New Loan Servicing Initatives
- New Tool to Improve Income-Based Loan Repayment
- Elections' Impact on State Legislative Chambers
- State Ballot Measures Affecting Higher Ed.
- Kansas Votes Against Fluoridation
- HHS Invests $229m in NHSC
Legislative Grassroots Network

Chair
Ian Murray, Western '13

ADPAC Student Director 
Ross Isbell, Alabama '14

Districts 1-3 Legislative Coordinator:
Chrissy Shaw, Connecticut '14

Districts 4-5 Legislative Coordinator:   
Phil Bell, Florida '14

Districts 6-7 Legislative Coordinator:
Ashley Ginsberg, Illinois '14 

Districts 8-9 Legislative Coordinator:   
Emily Tschetter, Nebraska '14


Districts 10-11 Legislative Coordinator:  
Spencer Armuth, Las Vegas '14


Staff Liaison
Andrew Smith, MPA


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