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AAU Weekly Wrap-up, January 24, 2014

 (SEE CORRECTED FIRST BUDGET ITEM BELOW)

 January 24, 2014    

 

CONTENTS

CONGRESSIONAL SCHEDULE   NEW

BUDGET & APPROPRIATIONS

White House Will Release FY15 Budget on March 4   NEW

Updated FY14 Budget Charts Now Available for Several Agencies   UPDATED

OTHER CONGRESSIONAL ISSUES

Senate Judiciary Comt. Holds First Staff Briefing on Curbing Abusive Patent Practices    NEW

EXECUTIVE BRANCH

AAU Submits Letter to Dept. of Education on Proposed Campus Rating System   NEW 

 

CONGRESSIONAL SCHEDULE   NEW 

The House and Senate were out of session this week and will reconvene for business on Monday, January 27.  The Senate next week will resume consideration of legislation dealing with homeowner flood insurance (S. 1926).  The House is expected to consider legislation (H.R. 7) to deny federal funding for abortions, as well as the conference report for the farm bill (H.R. 2642), if it is available.   

 

BUDGET & APPROPRIATIONS 

WHITE HOUSE WILL RELEASE FY15 BUDGET ON MARCH 4   NEW 

The White House has announced that it will release the President’s FY15 budget on Tuesday, March 4, a month beyond the statutory deadline of February 3.  The delay is a result of the lateness of Congress in reaching a final agreement on the FY14 omnibus appropriations package, reports CQ.com.  The measure was approved last week and signed by the President on January 17.  

Given that the FY14 budget agreement has already set the discretionary spending cap for FY15—a must-do element of a budget resolution—congressional leaders could choose to avoid consideration of an FY15 budget resolution and go straight to the appropriations process.  The Hill reports, however, that House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI) has said his panel will produce a budget outline this year.  It remains unclear if Senate Budget Committee Chair Patty Murray (D-WA) will do the same.  The FY15 discretionary spending cap is $1.0138 trillion, up by $1.6 billion (EARLIER NUMBERS WERE INCORRECT) from the FY14 level of $1.0122 trillion   

In the meantime, Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew told Congress this week that the debt limit must be raised by late February, rather than early March as he had previously predicted.  Raising the nation’s borrowing authority is expected to be the next flashpoint for Republicans and Democrats over the federal budget and deficit spending.     

 

UPDATED FY14 BUDGET CHARTS NOW AVAILABLE FOR SEVERAL AGENCIES    UPDATED 

Along with updating the AAU FY14 Funding Priorities Table to reflect enactment of the FY14 omnibus appropriations package, AAU has updated several of its individual FY14 agency budget charts.   These are:  Defense, Department of Education, the National Science Foundation, and NASA 

 

OTHER CONGRESSIONAL ISSUES 

SENATE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE HOLDS FIRST STAFF BRIEFING ON CURBING ABUSIVE PATENT PRACTICES    NEW 

The Senate Judiciary Committee on January 21 held the first of four Senate staff briefings on the range of legislative proposals for curbing abusive patent practices. The sessions are designed to give Senate staff, particularly those not on the Senate Judiciary Committee, a better understanding of the complex issues surrounding abusive patent practices and ways to address them.  As with the remaining three sessions, the briefing was limited to Senate staff, with no press.  

Tuesday’s session featured six panelists with views across the spectrum on patent litigation reform.  They included AAU Executive Vice President John Vaughn, who provided the perspectives of universities.    

The staff briefings follow up on a hearing the Committee held on December 17.  The sessions provide both a further examination of key issues and an opportunity for Senate staff to engage with panelists about them.  The second staff briefing was held this morning, January 24, and the remaining two briefings will be held the following successive Fridays.   (See AAU Weekly Wrap-up, January 10, 2014 for more information on this issue.)    

 

EXECUTIVE BRANCH 

AAU SUBMITS LETTER TO DEPT. OF EDUCATION ON PROPOSED CAMPUS RATING SYSTEM   NEW 

Earlier today, AAU submitted a letter to the Department of Education that responds to the agency’s request for information (RFI) on its proposal to create a postsecondary institutional rating system.  Individual campuses may wish to submit their own responses to the Department.  The deadline for submissions is Friday, January 31, 2014 

In explaining why the association has submitted a lengthy, five-page response, the letter says: 

“AAU does not endorse a new ratings system, but weconsider it important to share our expertise and perspectives on data elements, metrics, and data collection, among other issues outlined in the RFI. As articulated in prior statements about theAdministration’s consumer disclosure proposals, we believe that any tools designed to be useful to students and parents in their college search should be grounded in reliable and valid data, and presented with the appropriate context to accurately reflect institutional performance. This response reflects input from AAU institutional research officers and other campus experts on the reliability and validity, aswell as methodological limitations, of possible metrics related to access, affordability, and outcomes.” 

The Department of Education published its RFI in the Federal Register on December 17.  The notice asked for information about how to develop the plan, which was announced by President Obama in August, 2013.  The Department intends to use the ratings to compare colleges with similar missions and to identify colleges that are improving their performance and doing the most to help students from disadvantaged and underrepresented backgrounds to succeed.  The President has directed the Department to develop and publish a new college ratings system before the 2015-16 school year. 

 

End of document

 

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