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AAU WEEKLY WRAP-UP

 

February 14, 2014         

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CONTENTS
CONGRESSIONAL SCHEDULE     NEW  
BUDGET &APPROPRIATIONS 
Associations Ask Appropriators to Give Priority to Research and Education in FY15 Funding NEW  
OTHER CONGRESSIONAL ISSUES
Higher Education Associations Ask House Leaders to Move Immigration Reform
Broad Coalition Urges Senate Judiciary Leaders to Move Cautiously on Patent Legislation 

 

CONGRESSIONAL SCHEDULE   NEW   

The House and Senate each met in pro forma session today with no legislative business, and will be in recess through next week.  The Senate will return on Monday, February 24 and the House on Tuesday, February 25.  

 

BUDGET & APPROPRIATIONS    

ASSOCIATIONS ASK APPROPRIATORS TO GIVE PRIORITY TO RESEARCH AND EDUCATION IN FY15 FUNDING   NEW   

AAU, the American Council on Education (ACE), and the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU) today sent a letter  to House and Senate appropriators asking them to give priority to research and higher education programs in their FY15 appropriations plans.  The goal, they said, is to help close the innovative deficit, the gap between what is needed to sustain U.S. technological leadership in the face of increased international competition and the amount the federal government has actually been investing over the past five years.  The associations were able to make the request because Congress set the FY15 appropriations total as part of the FY14 omnibus appropriations package.   

The associations' letter specifically requested the appropriators to ensure that in allocating the FY15 discretionary spending total among their subcommittees, they provide room for "robust investments in research and higher education programs" in three key subcommittees.  The subcommittees are Labor-HHS-Education, Commerce-Justice-Science, and Energy and Water, which provide funding for the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation, the Department of Energy's Office of Science, NASA's science and technology programs, Pell Grants, and other student aid programs. 

The letter also encouraged appropriators to recommit to strong research investments in other federal agencies, including the Departments of Defense and Agriculture, the National Institute of Standards and Technology, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy.    

 

OTHER CONGRESSIONAL ISSUES   

HIGHER EDUCATION ASSOCIATIONS ASK HOUSE LEADERS TO MOVE IMMIGRATION REFORM     

A group of 15 higher education associations, including AAU, sent a letter  to House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) and Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) on February 12 thanking them for their recently released Standards for Immigration Reform  and asking them to move ahead on immigration reform this year.  

The letter, which was copied to all House Republicans, said the higher education community was encouraged that the standards address green card reform.  The letter also stressed the importance of providing college opportunity for students brought to this country as children by their parents.  It added, "The higher education community stands ready to work with you to help advance the goal of enacting sensible, bipartisan immigration reform this year." 

 

BROAD COALITION URGES SENATE JUDICIARY LEADERS TO MOVE CAUTIOUSLY ON PATENT LEGISLATION  

A group of more than 150 businesses and organizations, including AAU, sent a letter  to leaders of the Senate Judiciary Committee on February 11 urging caution in moving legislation that would change U.S. patent laws.  

Led by the Innovation Alliance , the letter said, "The U.S. patent system is a driving engine of our economy and a vital contributor to the nation's economic creativity and ingenuity.  Any changes that are made should not undermine U.S. patents, their robust enforcement, or the existing economic incentives for companies of all sizes to invest in new jobs, research, and development." 

At issue is the effort by Congress to make it more difficult for patent trolls to use the patents they acquire to force legitimate patent holders to pay license fees.  Although there is broad support for reining in patent trolls, there is also strong concern that the House-passed bill ( H.R. 3309 ), as well as a number of legislative proposals in the Senate, would impede the ability of patent holders, including universities, legitimately to enforce their patents.  With some revisions, the higher education community supports  the Senate version of the bill ( S. 1720 ), but is concerned that those who have promoted the House version of the bill will succeed in complicating the Senate bill with similarly problematic provisions.

 

End of document

 

 

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