- Budget and Appropriations Update
- AAU Urges Congressional Leaders to Reach Bipartisan Budget Agreement
- Over 2,000 Groups Call for Budget Deal to Raise Spending Caps
- AAU President Troubled by Gridlock, Urges Bipartisan Funding Agreement
- NACUBO Endowment Study Shows 12 Percent Return in FY17
- Health and Human Services Secretary Confirmed
- Mary Sue's Desk: The Research University Role in a Great America
BUDGET AND APPROPRIATIONS UPDATE
Congress approved a three-week continuing resolution (CR) late-Monday to fund the government through February 8. The stalemate ended when Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer announced at noon he would vote in support of the CR in return for a pledge from Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to address DACA by February 8. The Senate voted 81-18 and the House voted 266-150 to approve the CR, which was shortly thereafter signed by President Trump.
AAU today wrote to House and Senate leaders to urge they swiftly reach a bipartisan budget deal to raise spending caps and allow for robust investment in research and higher education programs. The AAU-only letter comes two days after AAU joined nearly 2,000 other groups in a similar letter that calls for a bipartisan budget deal to raise discretionary spending caps. Sequestration level caps return in FY18 and barring congressional action to #RaiseTheCaps, nondefense discretionary programs are projected to decline to 3.1 percent of GDP-the lowest level in more than 50 years.
Last Saturday, AAU President Mary Sue Coleman issued a statement to express disappointment in Congress's repeated failure to reach a bipartisan funding agreement. AAU will continue to push for a final budget deal that raises spending caps to permit increased investments in higher education and research. AAU also continues to advocate for a permanent legal solution to protect DACA participants.
WHITE HOUSE RELEASES IMMIGRATION 'FRAMEWORK'
The White House yesterday provided Congress with an immigration reform plan that would offer a path to citizenship for 1.8 million undocumented immigrants brought to the U.S. as children in exchange for the implementation of certain domestic immigration restrictions. The framework would eliminate the visa lottery and scale back U.S. migration by extended families. New citizens would be able to sponsor their immediate family members to enter the country, but other relatives would be excluded. The proposal would also establish a $25 billion trust fund for a border defense system, including a wall along the Mexican border and Canadian border security.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer today objected to the proposal saying it "uses [Dreamers] as a tool to tear apart our legal immigration system and adopt the wish list that anti-immigration hardliners have advocated for years." It is unclear if the proposal would garner the required 60 votes in the Senate for passage.
Politico has more.
NACUBO ENDOWMENT STUDY SHOWS 12 PERCENT RETURN IN FY17
The investment returns on college and university endowments rose to an average of 12.2 percent in FY17, compared to a decline of 1.9 percent in the prior year, according to the NACUBO-Commonfund Study of Endowments, released yesterday. The latest data show the 10-year average annual return decreased to 4.6 percent in 2017, down from 5 percent in 2016.
The study data, gathered from 809 U.S. colleges and universities, is broken down into six endowment size categories ranging from institutions with total endowment assets under $25 million to those with assets exceeding $1 billion. Despite diminished long-term returns, 65 percent of study participants overall reported increasing their endowment spending in dollar terms, with the median increase being 6.5 percent, well above the inflation rate. Institutions with endowments over $1 billion reported the largest increase in endowment spending among all the asset-size categories.
MARY SUE'S DESK: THE RESEARCH UNIVERSITY ROLE IN A GREAT AMERICA
AAU President Mary Sue Coleman on Monday released a blog titled "The Research University Role in a Great America," in which she discusses how university research is conducted to address national challenges.
HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES SECRETARY CONFIRMED
Alex Azar, former president of the U.S. arm of Eli Lilly & Co., was confirmed Wednesday as Secretary of Health and Human Services by a 55-43 vote. Azar succeeds Tom Price, who resigned in September last year.