Obama’s attempt to regulate private colleges rejected

The Obama administration has suffered a rebuke in its effort to regulate private-sector colleges, after a federal judge ruled that a proposed rule restricting bonuses for college recruiters was enacted without any proper evidence or justification for its existence.

The ruling is the second setback of its type for Obama’s Department of Education in three years.

Federal law has for decades banned educational recruiters from receiving compensation based on the number of students they enroll, in order to discourage aggressive sales tactics, fraud and other harmful behaviors. However, during the Obama administration a major push has been made to tighten this rule in order to prevent what the administration says are evasive practices.

In 2011, the Department of Education eliminated 12 “safe harbors” that allowed bonus compensation for recruiters in certain circumstances, including one that allowed for recruiters to receive bonuses based on how many students they recruited who graduated, rather than merely enrolled. The Association of Private Sector Colleges (APSCU) and Universities promptly sued, arguing the restrictions were illegal and offered without justification. In 2012 a federal court ruled on their behalf concerning the graduation bonus and ordered the Department of Education to provide better reasoning for its rules.

In its second attempt, the Obama administration argued that the graduation bonus was an effort to evade the ban on enrollment bonuses, since all students must enroll to graduate.

That reasoning doesn’t fly, wrote Judge Rosemary Collyer of the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals.

“If accepted, this rationale would allow the Department to ban all incentive-based compensation in higher education, as enrollment is always a necessary predicate to any assessment of program,” wrote Collyer in her ruling.

The Department of Education also attempted to justify the rule by claiming that recruiters were driving students towards shorter, less rigorous programs that they were more likely to graduate from, but which would help the students less than other programs. That might be true, Collyer said, but if it is, the federal government has provided no evidence that is the case.

“The Department does not identify factual grounds in the record for its concerns,” Collyer says. Even though it would have been “a simple matter” for the Department of Education to back up its claims more substantively, Collyer said, it failed entirely to do so, dooming its case.

Collyer also pointed out that federal laws concerning higher education are written with the explicitly stated goal of boosting graduation from postsecondary institutions. Incentivizing graduation would appear to help that goal, not hinder it, said Collyer, and the government had totally failed to explain how that was not the case. Nor had the government responded to an argument made by for-profit colleges that its rules would hinder the college graduation rates of minority students by prohibiting certain incentives to recruit them.

APSCU released a statement after the ruling saying it was “pleased” and requesting that the Department of Education to start its proposed for-profit college regulations from scratch.  The Department of Education has not said what is planned response is.

This article was originally published by the Daily Caller News Foundation

Embattled Democrats Silent On ‘Executive Action’ And AG

Four Senate Democrats facing tough reelection races recently voted against President Obama’s plan to take executive action on immigration.

But would they vote against an attorney general nominee who would implement such a policy? When asked by The Daily Caller News Foundation, none of them were willing to commit.

Senators Kay Hagan of North Carolina, Mary Landrieu of Louisiana, Mark Pryor of Arkansas, and Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire all cast last-minute votes with Senate Republicans in September to prevent the president from following through on his plan to grant millions of illegal aliens work permits by executive action.

Another embattled Democrat, Alaska Sen. Mark Begich, also cast a last-minute vote that ensured Alabama Republican Sen. Jeff Sessions’ amendment to deny funding for the president’s plan would fail. Those five votes were characterized as political maneuvering around a tough issue just ahead of an election. (RELATED: Sessions Leads GOP, Five Democratic Senators To Vote Against Obama Amnesty)

With a replacement for Attorney General Eric Holder likely to be named during the lame-duck congressional session following the election, senators will have a chance to weigh in on the issue again. Sessions has joined Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, Texas Republican Sen. Ted Cruz and Kentucky Republican Sen. Rand Paul in saying they would vote against any attorney general nominee who does not publicly disavow the president’s immigration plan.

When asked by TheDCNF, all four Senate Democrats who voted with Sessions on defunding the executive action plan declined to say whether they would also vote against an attorney general nominee who was in favor of it.

A spokesperson for Begich said the senator is against unilateral action on immigration from the president and does not support amnesty, but also declined to take a position on Sessions’ plan, saying he won’t comment on a hypothetical attorney general nominee.

“To me, securing our borders has to be the priority, and that should be the President’s focus,” Sen. Begich said in a statement. “I don’t support amnesty, and that is why the House must consider the Senate’s bipartisan solution so we can move forward with common sense reforms to fix the current broken system.”

The other three senators declined TheDCNF’s request for comment.

Hagan ran on immigration in 2008 and said last year she opposes amnesty. Landrieu boasted of voting against amnesty 9 times in a recent campaign ad, and Sen. Pryor also stated he is against amnesty in a campaign ad. An adviser to Shaheen told The Washington Post the senator does not support “a piecemeal approach by executive order.”

This article was originally posted on the Daily Caller News Foundation.

Will debt crisis bust Obama’s California ATM?

Thursday night’s Republican Presidential debate in Iowa appropriately started out with questions about one of the biggest political events of the year: the downgrading of our nation’s credit rating for the first time in history. While all the GOP candidates snapped at that “red meat,” and blamed liberal policies, the guy who as President presided over this great fiscal embarrassment, Barack Obama, probably sat in his home office in the White House mulling over his press conference on the same day, where he blamed conservatives in the GOP for the downgrade instead.
The national debt downgrade last week was bracketed by topsy-turvey financial markets. This week, billions have been lost by average investors’ retirement plans while billions were made by opportunistic professional traders on the drastic, day-by-day swings in the stock market. Respected economists are making dire predictions that the United States will sink into a second recession, that the real estate market will not recover for years, that unemployment will rise perhaps above 10%.
So all that said, as our economy is demolished, is California just going to continue to be Barack Obama’s campaign’s Automated Teller Machine?
Late last April, Obama made a two-day, six stop tour of our Golden State that purportedly raised him $7 million for his 2012 re-election campaign. Liberal political analyst Sherri Bebitch Jeffe said that California had become “Obama’s ATM”, regardless of sinking polls outside California.
That was then.
Since April, and after the Administration’s deserved “high” for getting bin Laden, a national economy that was already in the tank has come terribly close to completely imploading. Politicians in Washington hardly were able to cobble a last minute plan together to deal with our country’s terrible spending problem, as Obama pestered them, pushing more taxes on them, and on a sick economy, as a road to economic recovery. It is a miracle they got a compromise that didn’t include Obama’s new taxes – yet. His debt plan is the moral equivalent of “bleeding” as a remedy for anemia.
I wonder how much money those big donors to Obama in California have lost in the last few days with him as President. What good is an invitation to a White House dinner if your corporate jet is in receivership?
I also wonder whether the majority of the 9.4% of unemployed people in our state, whom research shows were Obama voters in 2008, will be showing up again at the polls in 2012 for him with the same enthusiasm, assuming they still have cars, auto insurance and gas money to get to the voting booths.
Jeffe predicts that Obama will still win California, no matter. It will be a sad statement of self-deprecation of Cailfornians if that happens. But I’ll bet Obama won’t raise $7 million from rich liberals the next time he comes here, because even rich liberals lose money on the stock market.