Midterm Election Results
    November 9, 2018
     
    Although final results of certain races are still being determined, Democrats have won the majority in the House of Representatives, while Republicans have retained the Senate. Both parties will hold leadership elections in the coming weeks. Several key Congressional committees of importance to graduate education will experience changes in both their leadership and member make-up.
     
    The agenda of the 116th Congress could include several policy areas critical to CGS:
    • The fate of a Higher Education Act (HEA) reauthorization is unclear in a divided government, although there are some areas of common ground between the parties, particularly around the expansion of student loan counseling and elimination of origination fees. House Democrats could pursue an HEA proposal similar to the Aim Higher Act. The Senate could also craft its own bill, which is likely to be more bipartisan. Additionally, the House is expected to exercise more oversight over the Department of Education, especially with respect to Title IX and implementation of the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) program. 
    • The House could move to pass the Dream Act, which would provide a pathway to citizenship for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients. However, it is unlikely to pass the Senate.  
    • House Democrats could hold hearings on the effectiveness of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, including passing a series of targeted fixes. Several bills introduced by House Democrats in the current Congress would expand tax credits for college students. There is also bipartisan support in both chambers for legislation with respect to retirement savings, which could include provisions on expanding 529 plans and retirement savings accounts for graduate students. 
     
    Additionally, at the state level, seven governorships— Illinois, Kansas, Maine, Michigan, Nevada, New Mexico, Wisconsin—switched parties, along with the control of numerous state legislatures. Several of the incoming governors addressed higher education issues on the campaign trail, such as student loan debt, tuition at public universities, competency-based education, and workforce development programs.

     

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