- Partial Government Shutdown Update
- Senate Confirms OSTP Director
- Associations Request Comment Period Extension on H-1B Preregistration NPRM
- Energy Department Releases Year in Review
PARTIAL GOVERNMENT SHUTDOWN UPDATE
Congressional leaders today participated in a White House meeting to discuss ending the partial government shutdown. Shortly after the meeting, President Trump and Vice President Pence addressed reporters in the Rose Garden to announce that a working group, led by VP Pence, will convene this weekend with congressional staff to devise a solution to the standoff. Both the president and vice president expressed that more progress had been made in today’s meeting, while House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) characterized the meeting as contentious.
While the NIH and Education Department are funded, other agencies such as NSF, NASA, NOAA, USDA, NIST, and NEH are not. The Office of Management and Budget has issued agency contingency plans and FAQs.
ICYMI: President Mary Sue Coleman last month called on Congress and the administration to immediately fund the government.
SENATE CONFIRMS OSTP DIRECTOR
The Senate on Wednesday confirmed Dr. Kelvin Droegemeier to be the next Director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy. Dr. Droegemeier is a meteorologist who served as vice president for research at the University of Oklahoma from 2009 until his nomination in 2018.
ASSOCIATIONS REQUEST COMMENT PERIOD EXTENSION ON H-1B PREREGISTRATION NPRM
AAU and five other higher education organizations earlier this week wrote to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to comment on a proposed rule that would require H-1B cap-subject petitioners to first electronically register with USCIS during a designated registration period. The organizations request the comment period be extended and implementation delayed to prevent significant changes that may affect the upcoming FY20 application season, which begins April 1, 2019.
Under the proposed rule, USCIS would reverse the order by which the agency selects H-1B petitions under the H-1B cap and the advanced degree exemption. Though the proposed rule would impact cap-subject H-1Bs, it would not directly impact universities as employers. However, it would have an impact on graduates seeking employment opportunities and could lead to a greater allocation for H-1Bs to those with U.S. advanced degrees.
ENERGY DEPARTMENT RELEASES YEAR IN REVIEW
The Department of Energy (DOE) recently released a Year in Review highlighting notable 2018 achievements made throughout the DOE enterprise. The DOE has been working to fulfill the president’s directive to maintain and build upon U.S. energy dominance, which will increase the country’s energy and national security, strengthen relationships with our allies around the world, foster innovation, and open new and emerging markets. The report states: “From fossil fuels to nuclear, wind and solar to hydro and battery storage, our 'all-of-the-above' strategy is advancing our energy security, propelling our prosperity, and strengthening our national security.”