This Week in Congress

The House is in session Tuesday through Thursday.


Among the legislation the House will consider is H.R. 1500. This bill officially changes the name of the Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. It also lays out the responsibilities of the agency and limits the amount of political appointees that can serve at the agency and requires the Executive Branch to provide “adequate staffing” for the agency.


The bill is a response to the Trump Administration’s efforts to reduce the CFPB’s power to impose costly regulations on the financial services industry. I can’t recall a recent incident where Congress passed legislation to protect a federal agency from an incumbent administration.


The House will also consider H.R. 1994. This bill makes changes to governing tax-free retirement savings accounts like IRAs and 401-Ks. I’ll have a detailed look at the bill later in the week.


Ways and Means Committee Chair Richard Neal (01-MA) made an agreement with Ways and Means ranking member Kevin Brady (TX-08) to include a provision allowing homeschooling families to use section 529 tax free savings accounts. The provision would also allow money from 529 accounts to be used to cover education expenses, such as fees for standardized testing, tutoring, or counseling for students with disabilities.


This language was left out of the Section 529 expansion that was included in the 2017 tax bill, and matches legislation introduced in this Congress by Texas Senator Ted Cruz and Jason Smith (MS-08).


Speaker Nancy Pelosi—after speaking with a teachers union that opposed the section 529 provisions—stripped it out of H.R. 1994. It is not surprising that the teachers unions oppose any change to government schools, or that Speaker Pelosi would violate a bipartisan agreement at their behest.


Teachers unions are among the largest financial supporters of the Democratic party. So Democrats oppose education tax credits that give parents more control over their children’s education.


For more on this issue, see the following coalition letter cosigned by Campaign for Liberty:


The Honorable Ted Cruz

U.S. Senate

Washington, DC 20510

The Honorable Jason Smith

U.S. House of Representatives

Washington, DC 20515

RE:  Student Empowerment Act

Dear Senator Cruz and Representative Smith,

Thank you for your continued commitment to advancing educational opportunities for our Nation’s children.  You continue to prove to be strong advocates for education freedom and equality and we are grateful.

We the undersigned thank you for introducing companion legislation, the Student Empowerment Act.  This legislation builds upon the successful expansion of the 529 College Savings Plans which was signed into law by President Trump in December 2017.  However like you, we agree homeschoolers were wrongly and unfairly excluded thus we were happy to learn of your introduction of the Student Empowerment Act.

We agree with the key provisions of the Student Empowerment Act:

• Allowing all students, including public, private, and religious school students, to use 529 savings accounts to cover eligible educational expenses, such as tutoring, standardized testing fees, and educational therapies for students with disabilities, among other educational expenses;

• Ensuring all families are able to use these tax-advantaged accounts to pay for their child’s elementary and secondary education; and

• Reincorporating homeschool students as equally eligible to use a 529 savings account for educational expenses.

Again we thank you for introducing this important legislation and we encourage your colleagues to pass this bill expeditiously.


Senator Cruz & Representative Smith

Student Empowerment Act Page 2

James L. Martin

Saulius “Saul” Anuzis

60 Plus Association

Brittney Vessely,

Catholic Education Partners

Sister Dale McDonald,

National Catholic Education Association (NCEA)

Rabbi Abba Cohen,

Agudath Israel of America

Olivia Grady,

Center for Worker Freedom

George V. Corwell,

New Jersey

Catholic Conference

Jamison Coppola,

American Association of Christian Schools (AACS)

Rabbi Pesach Lerner,

Coalition for Jewish Values

James Cultrara,

New York State

Council of Catholic

School Superintendents

John Schilling,

American Federation for Children (AFC)

Anne Lamonica,

Connecticut Catholic Conference

Sean McAleer,


Catholic Conference

Grover Norquist,

Americans for Tax Reform (ATR)

Rabbi Ariel Sadwin,

Council of American Private Education, (CAPE) – Maryland

Ed Martin,

Phyllis Schlafly Eagles

Michael Coppotelli,

Archdiocese of New York

Paul Nugent,

Education Liberty Fund

Michael Acquilano,

South Carolina

Catholic Conference

Edward McFadden,

Archdiocese of Washington, DC

Patrick Purtill,

Faith and Freedom Coalition

Stacy Hook,

Texans for

Education Opportunity

Liz Dreckman,

Arizona School Choice Trust

Jim Kallinger,

Florida Faith & Freedom Coalition

Jennifer Allmon,


Catholic Conference of Bishops

Thomas J. Cathey,

Association of Christian Schools International (ACSI)

J. Michael Smith,

Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA)

Judi McLane-Neeld,

The Foundation for

Catholic Education

Bill O’Brien

Business Leadership Organized for Catholic Schools (BLOCS)

Hadley Heath Manning,

Independent Women’s Voices (IWV)

C. Preston Noell, III

Tradition, Family, Property, Inc.

Ray Burnell,

California Catholic Conference

Susan George,

Inner-City Scholarship Fund

Maureen Blum,

USA Workforce Coalition &

#EdTaxCredit50 Coalition

Jennifer Daniels,

USCCB, Committee on Education

Gerrye Johnston,

Men & Women for A Representative Democracy in America

Sharon L. Schmeling,

Wisconsin Council of Religious & Independent  Schools (WCRIS-Wisconsin CAPE Chapter)

Thomas W. Carroll

Office of Catholic Schools, Archdiocese of Boston

Brian Broderick,

Michigan Association of

Non-Public Schools (MANS)

Norm Singleton,

Campaign for Liberty

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