Texas institutions of higher education would be protected from stifling new federal regulations under legislation cosponsored this week by U.S. Rep. John Carter (R-TX).
The Protecting Academic Freedom in Higher Education Act, HR 2117 by Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-NC) would repeal regulations imposed last year by the U.S. Department of Education (USDOE) that would strip the states of their historic role in defining credit hours and granting authorization for colleges and universities to operate.
"At a time when our colleges need to be innovating and expanding options for our students more than ever, federal bureaucrats are trying to push them in the opposite direction of limited choice and stifled innovation," says Carter. "This legislation is a prime example of a disturbing trend of federal regulatory overreach into nearly every aspect of American life, in an apparent attempt to usurp the freedoms guaranteed to the states and individual citizens. This makes the case on why Congress must revive its historical oversight role over federal agencies, instead of letting unelected bureaucrats effectively write law by default through regulation."
Carter has led efforts in the 112thCongress to revive the effective use of the Congressional Review Act (CRA), which allows Congress to disapprove any new federal regulation without having to face a Senate filibuster. Since the USDOE rules became final last year, they are not subject to CRA rules, but can still be overturned through regular order by HR 2117.
H.R. 2117 would specifically repeal the federal definition of a "credit hour" and prohibit the Department of Education from defining "credit hour" in the future, fight tuition cost increases by reducing authorization regulations, and preserve the historical role of the states in regulating higher education.