- Congress Approves Budget Resolution to Permit COVID-19 Relief Package to Advance Via Reconciliation Process
- AAU, Associations Highlight Ways Universities Can Aid COVID-19 Response Efforts
- Senate HELP Committee Schedules Vote on Education Secretary Nomination
- Senate Leaders Reach Power-Sharing Agreement
- House Democrats Remove Greene from Education, Budget Committees
- Reintroduced RISE Act Includes Critical Relief for American Research Enterprise
- Supporting State and Local Leaders Act Introduced in House, Senate
- Lawmakers Reintroduce TREAT Act to Extend Medical Provider License Reciprocity
- Biden Signs Memo to "Revitalize and Modernize" National Security Workforce
- AAU Joins Letter Urging DHS to Support International Students
CONGRESS APPROVES BUDGET RESOLUTION TO PERMIT COVID-19 RELIEF PACKAGE TO ADVANCE VIA RECONCILIATION PROCESS
In a party-line vote held early this morning, Senate Democrats passed an amended version of the introduced FY21 budget resolution. The vote ended 50 hours of debate and a “vote-a-rama,” with the chamber considering just a few dozen of the nearly 900 amendments submitted on topics ranging from reopening K-12 public schools to illegal immigration. The chamber ultimately approved 21 amendments. The House on Wednesday advanced its budget resolution along party lines.
The House this afternoon approved a FY21 budget resolution as passed by the House and amended by the Senate. The bill directs authorizing committees to draft portions of a $1.9 trillion pandemic relief measure to the House and Senate Budget Committees by Feb. 16. Bloomberg Government reports that efforts continue among some senators to draft a separate, bipartisan bill to deliver pandemic relief. The bill would likely need 60 votes to advance in the Senate.
RESOURCE AVAILABLE: AAU COVID-19 Priorities for 117th Congress
AAU, ASSOCIATIONS HIGHLIGHT WAYS UNIVERSITIES CAN AID COVID-19 RESPONSE EFFORTS
AAU recently joined ACE and 38 other higher education associations on a letter to President Biden and members of his COVID-19 Response Task Force to “communicate the willingness of the higher education community to contribute to the administration’s [COVID-19] response efforts.” The letter highlights a range of ways colleges and universities could help fight the pandemic, including: testing and tracing enhancement; using campus facilities and other resources to support the vaccination effort; harnessing campus expertise in areas like supply-chain management, logistics, and data analytics; and more.
RESOURCES AVAILABLE: AAU Sends Letter to Congressional Leadership Urging an Agreement on Comprehensive Pandemic Legislation | AAU, Associations Call on Congress to Provide $97B in Pandemic Relief for Colleges and Universities
SENATE HELP COMMITTEE SCHEDULES VOTE ON EDUCATION SECRETARY NOMINATION
On Wednesday, the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee held a hearing on President Biden’s nominee for education secretary, Miguel Cardona. The committee will consider Cardona’s nomination on Thursday, Feb. 11 . Politico Pro reports that the nomination is expected to advance with bipartisan support.
SENATE LEADERS REACH POWER-SHARING AGREEMENT
The Senate on Wednesday agreed to an organizing resolution that outlines how Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) will preside over a narrowly divided Senate. Politico reports that the agreement is styled after a power-sharing agreement crafted in 2001 when the chamber was last equally split, which gives parties equal shares of Senate committee seats and staffing space and sets up a process for discharging deadlocks.
The agreement was delayed due to McConnell’s request that Democrats commit to protecting the filibuster. McConnell dropped the objection after several Senate Democrats voiced their opposition to eliminating the 60-vote minimum for advancing legislation.
HOUSE DEMOCRATS REMOVE GREENE FROM EDUCATION, BUDGET COMMITTEES
Last night, 11 House Republicans joined all of the chamber’s Democrats in voting to remove Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (D-CA) from her positions on the Education and Labor and Budget Committees. The vote came on the heels of House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy’s (R-CA) attempt to convince Greene to apologize for comments supporting inciting violence against members of Congress and supporting various conspiracy theories, including claims that mass shootings in Las Vegas and Parkland were staged and that space lasers were to blame for wildfires in California.
In a press release last week, Education Committee Chair Bobby Scott (D-VA) questioned whether Greene’s appointment would “make a positive contribution to our work.”
REINTRODUCED RISE ACT INCLUDES CRITICAL RELIEF FOR AMERICAN RESEARCH ENTERPRISE
Today, Reps. Diana DeGette (D-CO), Fred Upton (R-MI), Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX), Anna Eshoo (D-CA), and Anthony Gonzalez (R-OH) reintroduced the “Research Investment to Spark the Economy Act,” or RISE Act, along with 77 original cosponsors. A companion measure has also been reintroduced in the Senate by Senators Markey (D-MA), Tillis (R-NC), Peters (D-MI) and Collins (R-ME). The AAU-endorsed measure would authorize approximately $25 billion in relief funding to support the nation’s research workforce and offset costs related to laboratory closures and lost research productivity resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic.
RESOURCE AVAILABLE: Critical RISE Act Relief Would Support American Research Enterprise
SUPPORTING STATE AND LOCAL LEADERS ACT INTRODUCED IN HOUSE, SENATE
Reps. Brad Schneider (D-IL), John Katko (R-NY), and Diana DeGette (D-CO) and Sens. Tina Smith (D-MN) and Dick Durbin (D-IL) yesterday reintroduced the Supporting State and Local Leaders Act (H.R. 762). The AAU-endorsed measure would make state and local governments eligible for the tax credit for emergency paid sick and family leave.
LAWMAKERS REINTRODUCE TREAT ACT TO EXTEND MEDICAL PROVIDER LICENSE RECIPROCITY
Lawmakers on Tuesday reintroduced the “Temporary Reciprocity to Ensure Access to Treatment,” or TREAT, Act ( H.R. 708 / S. 168 ). The bill would temporarily extend license reciprocity for healthcare and mental health workers across the United States. This important bipartisan bill would help ensure that Americans have continuous access to their health care and mental-health providers – including those at AAU member universities – during the pandemic. Last Congress, AAU joined more than 80 other organizations to endorse the measure.
BIDEN SIGNS MEMO TO “REVITALIZE AND MODERNIZE” NATIONAL SECURITY WORKFORCE
President Joe Biden yesterday signed a national security memo on “Revitalizing America’s Foreign Policy and National Security Workforce, Institutions, and Partnerships,” which calls for “a bold and sustained effort to revitalize and modernize the national security workforce, ensuring that it reflects the full diversity of the United States, and renewing and modernizing our national security institutions and partnerships.” The memo will establish an interagency working group “to develop proposals to recruit, retain, and support national security professions, including creating additional pathways for Americans with skills in critical areas such as cyber, technology, and science, technology, engineering, and math to engage in public service.” A fact sheet about the memo can be found here.
AAU JOINS LETTER URGING DHS TO SUPPORT INTERNATIONAL STUDENTS
On Wednesday, AAU, ACE, and 46 other higher education organizations sent a letter to Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas to congratulate him on his recent confirmation, voice support for the president’s executive order to protect and fortify the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, and highlight actions the Secretary can take to support international students and ensure the U.S. remains the most attractive destination for foreign talent. The letter recommends that Mayorkas: withdraw proposals to limit the amount of time international students can spend in the U.S. and restore “duration of status;” withdraw interim final rules that limit access to H-1B visas; clarify the future of the Optional Practical Training program; restore the Homeland Security Academic Advisory Council; and more.