- Congress to Vote on Budget Resolution; Senate Close to Power-Sharing Agreement
- AAU, Associations Urge Congress to Include $26B for Research Relief in Pandemic Aid Bill
- AAU, Associations Request Clarification of HEERF II Student Aid Grant Restrictions
- CNSF Requests At Least $3B in Pandemic Relief for NSF
- White House Announces Executive Orders Tackling Climate Change, Scientific Integrity
- House Appropriations Committee Leaders Announce Subcommittee Leaders, Members
- AAU Joins Letter Urging State Department to Support International Students
- AAU, Organizations Urge USCIS to Provide Flexibility for Optional Practical Training Applications Delayed by Pandemic
- TFAI Urges Biden Administration to Prioritize Investments in the US Scientific Enterprise
- C4AD Calls on Biden Administration to Act Quickly to Protect DACA Recipients
- DOE Office of Science Issues RFI on Accelerator Science and Technology Ecosystem
CONGRESS TO VOTE ON BUDGET RESOLUTION NEXT WEEK; SENATE CLOSE TO POWER-SHARING AGREEMENT
During her weekly press conference, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) said, “we're going to bring a budget resolution with reconciliation instructions to provide pandemic relief to the floor next week, and then we'll send it over to the Senate.” If the Senate makes changes to the bill, the measure will return to the House. CQ News reports that the resolution will be introduced in the House on Monday, considered by the House Rules Committee on Tuesday, and voted on Wednesday. Speaking on the Senate floor yesterday, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) confirmed the timeline for a budget resolution, saying the chamber will consider an FY21 budget resolution “as early as next week.”
Pelosi also indicated that congressional leadership would prefer to pass a standalone COVID-19 relief measure and confirmed that she sees using budget reconciliation as a “backstop for a bipartisan bill.”
Meanwhile, Politico reports that Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) are close to an agreement on how to share power in a narrowly divided Senate. The agreement has not been released yet but is expected to be styled after a power-sharing agreement crafted in 2001 when the chamber was last equally split. That agreement gave parties equal shares of Senate committee seats and staffing space and set up a process for discharging deadlocks.
AAU, ASSOCIATIONS URGE CONGRESS TO INCLUDE $26B FOR RESEARCH RELIEF IN PANDEMIC AID BILL
AAU, APLU, AAMC, and ACE have sent a letter to congressional leaders to renew their request for $26 billion in critical aid for the scientists, engineers, and research operations that support America’s research enterprise. The letter notes that while Congress provided limited relief for colleges and universities in the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund, these funds cannot be used to address the impact of the pandemic on federally funded researchers and their research. The request is consistent with the bipartisan, bicameral Research Investment to Spark the Economy, or “RISE,” Act (H.R. 7308 / S. 4286), which was cosponsored by more than 150 members of congress and endorsed by AAU and more than 320 universities and science, engineering, and business organizations.
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
AAU, ASSOCIATIONS REQUEST CLARIFICATION OF HEERF II STUDENT AID GRANT RESTRICTIONS
AAU yesterday joined ACE and 33 other higher education associations on a letter to acting Secretary of Education Philip Rosenfelt to request his department clarify that Higher Education Emergency Relief Funds, or “HEERF II,” can be used to help all students, including Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program participants and international students. The letter praises the department’s decision to exempt HEERF II from its implementing regulations for HEERF I while noting the uncertainty about the scope of eligibility for HEERF II student aid grants.
CNSF REQUESTS AT LEAST $3B IN PANDEMIC RELIEF FOR NSF
The Coalition for National Science Funding, which includes AAU, on Wednesday sent a letter to congressional leaders urging them to include $3 billion in emergency relief for the National Science Foundation in the next pandemic relief package. This funding would help “address the challenges faced by the scientific research community, specifically the need to restore the research enterprise and safeguard our nation’s research workforce,” the coalition noted.
WHITE HOUSE ANNOUNCES EXECUTIVE ORDERS TACKLING CLIMATE CHANGE, SCIENTIFIC INTEGRITY
On Wednesday, the president issued executive orders aimed at addressing climate change nationally and internationally, restoring scientific integrity, and reestablishing the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology. According to a press release from the Office of Science and Technology Policy, the president’s scientific integrity executive orders will: direct agencies to make decisions using the best-available science and data; charge the OSTP to ensure and evaluate scientific integrity across all federal agencies; require all agencies that oversee, direct, or fund research to designate a chief science officer; and direct all agencies to designate a scientific integrity official. The president will also issue an order to reestablish the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology, which will be co-chaired by the president’s science advisor.
The president’s climate change initiatives will: create a special presidential envoy for climate to sit on the National Security Council; establish the White House Office of Domestic Climate Policy, led by the inaugural national climate advisor and deputy national climate advisor; create a 21-member National Climate Task Force; prioritize innovation, commercialization, and deployment of clean energy technology and infrastructure; establish an Interagency Working Group on Coal and Power Plant Communities and Economic Revitalization; and create a White House Environmental Justice Interagency Council and White House Environmental Justice Advisory Council.
HOUSE APPROPRIATIONS COMMITTEE LEADERS ANNOUNCE SUBCOMMITTEE LEADERS, MEMBERS
House Appropriations Chair Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) on Monday announced the Democratic leaders of the 12 appropriations subcommittees and their members. House Appropriations Ranking Member Kay Granger (R-TX) announced the Republican ranking members and subcommittee members on Jan. 14.
AAU JOINS LETTER URGING STATE DEPARTMENT TO SUPPORT INTERNATIONAL STUDENTS
Yesterday, AAU, ACE, and 46 other higher education organizations sent a letter to Secretary of State Antony Blinken to congratulate him on his recent confirmation and highlight actions he can take to support international students and ensure the United States remains the most attractive destination for foreign talent. The letter recommends that Blinken coordinate with the Department of Homeland Security to ensure that visa applications and work authorizations for international students and scholars are processed quickly and allow consular officials flexibility to interpret intent provisions when adjudicating student visa applications.
AAU, ORGANIZATIONS URGE USCIS TO PROVIDE FLEXIBILITY FOR OPTIONAL PRACTICAL TRAINING APPLICATIONS DELAYED BY PANDEMIC
AAU on Tuesday joined 38 other higher education organizations on a letter to Department of Homeland Security acting Secretary David Pekoske urging the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services to provide flexibility to Optional Practical Training work authorization applicants due to processing delays caused by the pandemic. Among other requests, the letter asks that USCIS: grant conditional approval for I-765 OPT applicants; grant conditional work authorization extensions for STEM OPT applicants; drop penalties for OPT applicants that stem from a sudden address change for the USCIS lockbox; and more. The letter says that these provisions would help prevent graduates and students from missing course and employment start dates and potentially falling out of status.
TFAI URGES BIDEN ADMINISTRATION TO PRIORITIZE INVESTMENTS IN THE US SCIENTIFIC ENTERPRISE
On Tuesday, the Task Force on American Innovation, of which AAU is a member, sent a letter to President Joe Biden asking his administration to prioritize support for the U.S. scientific research enterprise, an essential step toward our nation’s economic recovery and a critical component of our global competitiveness and prosperity. According to the Task Force, prioritizing investments in research – particularly through NSF, the Department of Energy Office of Science, Defense Basic Research, NASA, and the Commerce Department’s National Institute of Standards and Technology – would help spur economic growth and ensure America’s continued scientific leadership on the world stage.
C4AD CALLS ON BIDEN ADMINISTRATION TO ACT QUICKLY TO PROTECT DACA RECIPIENTS
AAU joined the Coalition for the American Dream, a coalition of more than 100 top businesses and trade associations, on Monday to send a letter to President Joe Biden thanking his administration for taking immediate executive action to protect DACA recipients and committing to provide permanent protections and a pathway to citizenship for Dreamers and Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals recipients. “Given the years-long uncertainty these young men and women, as well as their employers, have faced and the ongoing litigation seeking to end DACA protections, it is our hope that this goal can be met in the first 100 days of your Administration,” the organizations say.
DOE OFFICE OF SCIENCE ISSUES RFI ON ACCELERATOR SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY ECOSYSTEM
Today, the Department of Energy Office of Science’s Office of Accelerator R&D and Production issued a request for information on “the current state of the accelerator technology market, and for information about successful public-private-partnership models.” Submissions are due Monday, March 15.