A bipartisan group of lawmakers is working to build support for repealing a new excise tax on potentially billions of dollars in private college endowments – just as some of the most prestigious schools in the country ratchet up their battle against the tax.
Rep. Bradley Byrne, R-Ala., and Rep. John Delaney, D-Md., sent a letter to colleagues this week seeking co-sponsors for a bill they introduced last month to eliminate the new fee. So far, Rep. Lamar Smith, R-Tenn., and Rep. David Cicilline, D-R.I., have signed on.
"Once a tax gets put in place … the tax can easily be raised," Delaney told CNBC. "I think every academic institution should be offended by this."
The effort comes as Ivy League universities, which will bear the brunt of the tax, ramp up their lobbying efforts, with Harvard President Drew Faust meeting with Byrne and Delaney in Washington this week. The university boasts a $37.1 billion endowment, the largest in the country.
"Endowments are a crucial way in which colleges and universities fund financial aid that expands affordability and access, groundbreaking research that leads to cures and scientific discovery, and campus development projects that create jobs and economic growth locally," Faust said in a statement to CNBC. "They are not a rainy-day fund set aside for the future."