Congress is quickly working on a bill that, if passed, would make major changes to the U.S. tax system, including tax reductions that would reduce the amount of revenue coming into the federal government.

The 400-page bill approved on Thursday afternoon by the House Ways and Means Committee includes a small provision on page 97 that, if passed, would have a significant impact on the next generation of American scientists.

Universities and research institutions often provide tuition reductions to graduate students who work as either research or teaching assistants. Under current law, the tuition reductions are not considered taxable income. The provision would eliminate that section of the law, making the tuition reductions taxable, resulting in significant increases in tax liability for students.

While the House Ways and Means Committee was debating the bill, ASCB President Pietro De Camilli sent a letter to the committee expressing the ASCB’s opposition to the tuition provision. In his letter, De Camilli said, “If Section 117(d)(5) were repealed, it would result in significant tax increases for the next generation of American researchers who, as part of their education, serve as the backbone of the American biomedical research enterprise.”

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Kevin M. Wilson

Kevin M. Wilson serves as Director of Public Policy and Media Relations for The American Society for Cell Biology. He's worked as the Legislative Director for U.S. Congressman Robert Weygand (D-RI) and as a Legislative Assistant for U.S. Senator Claiborne Pell (D-RI). He has a BA in Politics and American Government from the Catholic University of America. Email: kwilson@ascb.org