Sens. Chuck Grassley and Dianne Feinstein recently introduced the Stop the Importation and Trafficking of Synthetic Analogues (SITSA) Act of 2017. This act would create a “Schedule A” classification, banning importing new synthetic drugs deemed “substantially similar” to existing illegal drugs before testing their safety. If passed, the SITSA Act will be another step down the unfruitful path of prohibition.
Prohibiting a drug causes more problems than it solves. When a substance is banned, people can no longer rely on the government to enforce contracts for the sale and transport of the substance. This means that the only way to protect property and selling rights is through violence. Drugs don’t cause violent crime—prohibition does.
Read more at: The NY Observer
On Tuesday, OMB Director Mick Mulvaney unveiled President Trump’s latest budget proposal. While it includes cuts across a variety of discretionary programs, it also reforms one of the largest healthcare entitlements: Medicaid.
The budget, officially titled “A New Foundation for American Greatness,” would offer states the choice to cap Medicaid funding through a per-capita spending allotment or a block grant for the entire program. In addition, states will receive “more flexibility to control costs and design individual, State-based solutions to provide better care to Medicaid beneficiaries.”
Continue reading in The Washington Examiner
In response to pressure from the Obama administration, the Department of Education proposed an amendment to the regulation governing debt relief for federal student loans. The proposed amendment could have a severe economic impact, with the Department of Education estimating that the new regulation could cost taxpayers up to $43 billion over the next 10 years.
The current regulation was introduced to protect students from being victimized by colleges or universities. The regulation provided borrowers who had been deceived by schools an opportunity to avoid repaying their student loans. In its amended form, however, the regulation’s language is so vague that there is a real danger of it being interpreted too broadly, leaving colleges and universities vulnerable to meritless claims.
The proposed rule would make schools responsible for repaying the loans of their students if the institution is found to have made a “substantial misrepresentation.” This overly broad phrase is defined as a “statement” or “omission” with a “likelihood or tendency to mislead under the circumstances.”
In contrast, the legal definition of fraud is narrow. Fraud exists when a person with the “intent to deceive” causes financial harm. The new rule extends far beyond that.
The proposed rule’s substantial misrepresentation provision does not require intentional misconduct by the school. This omission could cause academic institutions to face claims brought by former students who feel entitled to certain job prospects or salary expectations. If, for example, a statistic such as the average salary of alumni is skewed by an outlier, the school may be liable for students’ loans.
Continue reading at The Hill.