- Government Shutdown?
- Senate Passes Legislation to Streamline FAFSA
- NSF Funding Coalition Urges Congress to Pass FY19 CJS Funding Bill
- Congress Approves National Quantum Initiative Act
Roughly a quarter of the government is set to close tonight at midnight should Congress and the administration fail to reach a compromise. The president on Thursday said he would not sign a spending bill that does not provide additional funds for a U.S.-Mexico border wall, blowing up the Senate's efforts to extend government funding through Feb. 8 with a clean continuing resolution. The House late last night passed a CR containing $5 billion in border funds. As of 4:30 p.m. ET, the Senate is holding a vote on a motion to proceed to a vote on the House-passed CR. The vote has been held open since 12:31 p.m. ET to allow senators to return to Washington, D.C. Vice President Pence is reportedly standing by to cast a tie-breaker vote should it be necessary.
Barring productive negotiations, the government will shut down at midnight this evening. The Office of Management and Budget has released an FAQ to address agency operations, including grants and contracts, and has posted various agency-specific contingency plans.
SENATE PASSES LEGISLATION TO STREAMLINE FAFSA
The Senate yesterday passed the bipartisanFaster Access to Federal Student Aid Act of 2018 (FAFSA Act, S. 3611), which would streamline FAFSA applications by allowing the IRS to share taxpayer information directly with the Education Department. The legislation would also amend tax code to allow agency collaboration to verify borrower income, alleviating income-verification requirements for non-tax filers. The bill’s sponsor, Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-TN) said in a release the legislation would make FAFSA completion easier and more secure for nearly 20 million students. The House is not expected to take up the legislation.
|ICYMI: Earlier this year, AAU and several other higher education associations submitted to Congress principles for Higher Education Act reauthorization, including a recommendation to ease the FAFSA application process for students.
NSF FUNDING COALITION URGES CONGRESS TO PASS FY19 CJS FUNDING BILL
The Coalition for National Science Funding, of which AAU is a member, earlier this week issued a statement urging Congress to pass the FY19 Commerce-Justice-Science Appropriations bill before the current CR expires and provide at least $8.175 billion for NSF in FY19. The statement says that a government shutdown “would have serious consequences for many non-defense discretionary programs, including the programs and scientific research funded by NSF.”
CONGRESS APPROVES NATIONAL QUANTUM INITIATIVE ACT
Earlier this week, Congress overwhelmingly passed the National Quantum Initiative Act (H.R. 6227). The legislation will establish a 10-year National Quantum Initiative program, and a National Quantum Coordination Office within the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy to oversee interagency planning. President Trump is expected to sign the bill before the end of the year.