AAU Weekly Wrap-up
April 15, 2016
BUDGET, APPROPRIATIONS & TAX ISSUES
BUDGET, APPROPRIATIONS & TAX ISSUES
HOUSE AND SENATE APPROPRIATIONS MOVE AHEAD
With the prospects of Congress approving an FY17 budget resolution appearing increasingly dim, the House and Senate appropriations committees have begun
moving their bills without that blueprint.
In the absence of the budget resolution, the Senate next week is expected to approve a “deeming” resolution that sets FY17 discretionary spending at the
level approved in last year’s two-year budget deal, and to take up its first FY17 appropriations bill, Energy and Water, which has already been approved by
the Appropriations Committee (see below).
House Republican leaders had hoped to work out a deal on the FY17 budget resolution with their conservative colleagues who want additional cuts, but they
could not do so. Absent an agreement, budget rules will allow House appropriations bills to go to the floor beginning May 15.
SENATE APPROPRIATIONS COMMITTEE APPROVES SUBCOMMITTEE ALLOCATIONS AND TWO BILLS
The Senate Appropriations Committee on April 14 released the FY17 spending allocations for its 12 subcommittees and approved the Military
Construction-Veterans Affairs and Energy and Water appropriations bills. As noted above, the
Energy and Water bill
will go the Senate floor next week. The committee today announced that it would take up the
Commerce-Justice-Science and Transportation-Housing and Urban Development bills in their respective subcommittees on Tuesday, April 19, and in full
committee on Thursday, April 21.
Among the highlights of the 12 subcommittees’ spending allocations—also called 302(b)s:
· Commerce-Justice-Science received $56.3 billion, a $600 million increase over the FY16 level of $55.7 billion;
· Energy and Water received $37.5 billion, a $300 million increase over the FY16 level of $37.2 billion;
· Interior-Environment received $32 billion, a $2.16 billion cut from the FY16 level of $32.16 billion; and
· Labor-HHS-Education received $161.86 billion, a 0.1 percent cut from the FY16 level of $162.1 billion.
HOUSE APPROPRIATIONS SUBCOMMITTEE ALLOCATIONS NOT RELEASED
House Appropriations Committee Chairman Hal Rogers (R-KY) on April 13 announced that instead of releasing the FY17 funding allocations as a package – as is
customary – he will release the allocations one at a time as each bill is considered in full committee. The chairman had been expected to release the
allocations during that afternoon’s full committee markup of the Military Construction-Veterans Affairs bill.
The full committee is scheduled to mark up its FY17
Agriculture and Energy and Water appropriations bills on Tuesday, April 19.
HOUSE AND SENATE FY17 ENERGY AND WATER BILLS WOULD RAISE RESEARCH FUNDING
Appropriators in both the House and Senate would fund the Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Science at $5.4 billion in FY17, an increase of $50 million.
The Senate Appropriations Committee approved its bill (S. 2804) on April 14;
the House Energy and Water Appropriations Subcommittee approved its bill on April 13.
In addition, the House bill would fund ARPA-E at $305.8 million, an increase of $14.8 million, or 5.1 percent, above the FY16 enacted level of $291
million. The Senate bill would fund ARPA-E at $292.7 million, or $1.7 million above the FY16 enacted level.
In the Senate
, Energy and Water Subcommittee Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-TN) stressed the importance of doubling funding for basic energy research. He noted that the
bill would eliminate funding for the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER), saving $125 million that could be used for investments in
other areas. Democratic leaders on the committee agreed.
HOUSE FY17 AGRICULTURE APPROPRIATIONS BILL WOULD BOOST FUNDS FOR AFRI
The FY17 agriculture appropriations bill marked up in the House
subcommittee on April 13 includes $375 million for the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI), a $25 million increase. AFRI is the Department of
Agriculture’s premiere competitive research program.
Overall, the bill provides $2.85 billion for agriculture research programs, including the Agricultural Research Service and the National Institute of Food
and Agriculture. The bill is scheduled for markup in the full Appropriations Committee on April 19.
ASSOCIATIONS URGE APPROPRIATORS TO STRENGTHEN THE PELL GRANT PROGRAM
A group of 19 higher education associations, including AAU, sent a letter to House
and Senate appropriators on April 14 urging the lawmakers to strengthen the Pell Grant program.
The associations expressed strong opposition to diverting the Pell Grant surplus for any purpose outside the program in the FY17 Labor-HHS-Education
appropriations bill, and they urged appropriators to use Pell funding to restore year-round Pell grants. The letter added:
“The program’s surplus represents funds that Congress deliberately set aside for broadening access and opportunity for American students. Encouraging all
eligible students—no matter their credit accumulation or enrollment intensity—to attend college year-round will expedite time-to-degree, significantly
lower opportunity costs, and allow more rapid entry into the workforce.”
AAU AND COGR SUBMIT COMMENTS TO OMB ON PROPOSED OPEN SOURCE SOFTWARE POLICY
AAU joined the Council on Governmental Relations (COGR) on April 11 in submitting comments to the Office of
Management and Budget (OMB) on the Administration’s proposed policy to make public custom software developed with federal funds.
The associations say they appreciate the intent of the proposed policy to improve access to custom software across government agencies. They express
concern that portions of the policy would significantly increase administrative burdens and ambiguity, “and result in loss of commercialization
opportunities, including new company formation, that lead to further innovation.”
The associations urge OMB to provide flexibility in whether and how software code developed with federal research funding is released to the public, with
consideration for the nature and objectives of each particular case.
ASSOCIATIONS OFFER NEW RESOURCE FOR STRENGTHENING CAMPUS RESEARCH SAFETY
A group of associations, led by the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU) and including AAU, on April 11 made public a new resource for
universities to use in strengthening research safety in their laboratories and research centers. The project, which includes
A Guide to Implementing a Safety Culture in our Universities
and an accompanying website, offers actions steps and information for university leaders to use in improving their institutional culture of research
The other participating associations are the American Chemical Society and the Council on Governmental Relations.
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