This piece originally appeared in The Daily Pennsylvanian.
A new compromise between leading Republicans and President Obama to extend an expiring tax policy may end up benefiting some of its student opponents.
In a Dec. 7 news conference, Obama agreed to extend former President Bush’s income tax cuts for all American citizens—as opposed to his former stance to extend the benefits for all but the wealthiest two percent of Americans.
According to a Dec. 7 article in The Chronicle of Higher Education, the compromise—which will be presented to the Senate Wednesday—would “include a tuition tax credit worth up to $2,500, a student-loan interest deduction worth up to $2,500, and a benefit that allows companies to provide up to $5,250 in tax-free tuition assistance to their employees.”
“I’m not going to lobby one way or the other for the bill’s passage, but I did lobby to have those exclusions in the bill,” Penn’s Associate Vice President of Federal Affairs Bill Andresen said. “With such a controversial piece of legislation, the best thing we can do is to make sure those things are in.”
Andresen said Penn doesn’t have a stance on the actual tax cuts, but “this is the big legislation that will be passed this year, so we want to make sure the provisions Penn wants are included.”
He also said the bill is likely to pass. “Maybe there will be a few small changes, but I’d be really surprised if it doesn’t pass,” Andresen said, noting that Penn students opposed to the tax cuts may benefit from the deal.
“There may be other issues they care about, but it’s very possible that those with concerns about tax legislation could end up benefiting,” he said.
For College junior and outgoing Penn Democrats President Emma Ellman-Golan, the bill creates frustration. “It’s so late in the game now that you have to wrap a ton of things into one bill,” she said. “I tremendously support investments in education, but we cannot afford to extend tax cuts for the wealthy. I understand that’s how Congress works, but it’s still frustrating."
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