- Budget and Appropriations Update
- Congress Approves Short-term CR, Averts Shutdown
- Tax Legislation Update
- House-Senate Conference Committee to Meet December 13
- Higher Education Associations Relay Concerns to Conference Committee
- Cancer Research Fellows Urge Congress to Reach Budget Deal to Raise Caps
- SCOTUS Allows Travel Ban to Take Effect
- AAU Ph.D. Education Initiative Webinar
BUDGET AND APPROPRIATIONS UPDATE
Congress approved a two-week spending deal yesterday to fund the government through December 22. Both chambers passed the continuing resolution (CR) easily; the Senate voted 81-14 and the House 235-193. President Trump signed the bill earlier this morning.
The President met with the ‘big four’ congressional leaders yesterday to discuss topline funding levels for a two-year spending deal. Media reports indicate Minority Leaders Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer seek parity for any defense and nondefense spending increase, while Speaker Ryan and Majority Leader McConnell are asking that the Pentagon get the bulk of any spending boost. The meeting concluded without reaching a specific deal but both parties indicated that negotiations will continue over the coming weeks.
TAX LEGISLATION UPDATE
House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady today announced the House and Senate conference committee will hold an open meeting Wednesday, December 13. Majority Leader McConnell appointed the following Senators to conference: Orrin Hatch (UT), Mike Enzi (WY), Lisa Murkowski (AK), John Cornyn (TX), John Thune (SD), Rob Portman (OH), Tim Scott (SC), and Pat Toomey (PA). Minority Leader Schumer selected the following: Ron Wyden (OR), Bernie Sanders (VT), Patty Murray (WA), Maria Cantwell (WA), Debbie Stabenow (MI), Bob Menendez (NJ), and Tom Carper (DE).
Speaker Ryan on Tuesday named the following conferees: Kevin Brady (TX), Diane Black (TN), Rob Bishop (UT), Greg Walden (OR), Peter Roskam (IL), Devin Nunes (CA), Kristi Noem (SD), Don Young (AK), and John Shimkus (IL). Minority Leader Pelosi appointed the following representatives as conferees: Richard Neal (MA), Sander Levin (MI), Lloyd Doggett (TX), Raul Grijalva (AZ), and Kathy Castor (FL). It is unclear if a compromise will be reached by conference committee or if the House will choose to adopt the Senate version.
With ACE and nearly 50 other higher education associations, AAU today submitted a letter to the House-Senate conference committee outlining the community’s concerns about the House and Senate tax bills. The ACE-led letter notes that both the House and Senate bills would make college more expensive and “erode the financial stability of public and private, two-year and four-year colleges and universities.”
CANCER RESEARCH FELLOWS URGE CONGRESS TO REACH BUDGET DEAL TO RAISE CAPS
On Wednesday, the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) wrote to House and Senate leaders to urge they reach a multi-year bipartisan budget agreement that raises the Budget Control Act caps on nondefense discretionary spending in FY18. “Doing so,” the letter says, “will allow for a $36.1 billion investment in NIH in FY 2018 as approved by the Senate Appropriations Committee, and remove the threat of sequester that is so concerning to researchers, advocates, and the public at large.” The letter was signed by nearly 100 AACR Fellows – many of whom are located at AAU universities – who are luminaries in the basic, translational, and clinical research fields, including eighteen Nobel Prize recipients.
SCOTUS ALLOWS TRAVEL BAN TO TAKE EFFECT
Arguments began today at the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, four days after the Supreme Court issued brief orders encouraging appeals courts to determine the legality of the administration’s latest iteration of the travel ban. The third version of the ban was issued by a September proclamation and the Supreme Court’s Monday order allows the administration to fully enforce travel restrictions to the U.S. by citizens from eight countries: Chad, Iran, Libya, North Korea, Somalia, Syria, Venezuela, and Yemen. Two justices, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Sonia Sotomayor indicated they would have denied the administration’s request to implement the policy. The State Department today confirmed the ban is now fully operational.
The Washington Post has more.
AAU PHD EDUCATION INITIATIVE WEBINAR
On Monday, December 11 at 4:00 p.m. EST, AAU will host a webinar on the to-be-launched Ph.D. Education Initiative, which will focus on graduate student experiences, career pathways, and doctoral program structures. All interested individuals on your campus are welcome to register. More information about the initiative and webinar registration details can be accessed here.