- AAU President Barbara Snyder’s Statement on Violence at the Capitol
- Congress Certifies Biden’s Presidency; Incoming Administration to Roll Back “Midnight Regulations;” Senate Majority Shifts
- Education Secretary Betsy DeVos Resigns
- AAU, Organizations Urge Incoming Administration to Rescind Human Fetal Tissue Research Restrictions
- House Space, Science, and Technology Leaders Introduce the “Supporting Early-Career Researchers Act”
- AAU Staffing Announcement
- Upcoming Events
AAU PRESIDENT BARBARA SNYDER’S STATEMENT ON VIOLENCE AT THE CAPITOL
On Wednesday, AAU President Barbara R. Snyder released a statement about the shocking violence that unfolded at the United States Capitol. In the statement, Snyder called the riot an attempted coup and called on President Donald Trump and his supporters in Congress to immediately denounce the violence, drop their efforts to disenfranchise American voters, and work to restore order. “America operates on the rule of law, not mob rule,” Snyder said. “On Jan. 20, Joe Biden will be sworn in as our nation’s next president, as dictated by our Constitution and the votes of the American people.”
CONGRESS CERTIFIES BIDEN’S PRESIDENCY; INCOMING ADMINISTRATION TO ROLL BACK “MIDNIGHT REGULATIONS;” SENATE MAJORITY SHIFTS
On Wednesday, Congress convened in a joint session to certify Electoral College votes. Despite an invasion of the U.S. Capitol and objections from some Republican lawmakers, Congress confirmed the election of President-elect Biden early Thursday morning.
According to Fox News, President-elect Biden is expected to issue an executive order to stop “midnight regulations” issued by the outgoing administration during its lame-duck period. The incoming administration is expected to take many of the actions included in the recommendations AAU submitted in December.
The Senate majority will shift after Georgia’s newly elected Sens. Raphael H. Warnock and Jon Ossoff are sworn into office – bringing the total number of Senate Democrats to 50 – and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris will cast tie-breaking votes. Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY) will serve as Majority Leader. The shift will allow congressional Democrats to advance legislation that previously had no chance to pass a Republican-controlled Senate, including the John R. Lewis Voting Rights Act and a second round of COVID-19 stimulus checks. With Democrats in control of both chambers, Congress could pass an FY22 budget resolution that includes budget reconciliation instructions affecting health, tax, infrastructure, climate change, and other policy priorities of the incoming administration and congressional democrats.
EDUCATION SECRETARY BETSY DeVOS RESIGNS
Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos yesterday announced she would resign from her position, effective today. In her resignation letter, DeVos cited the president’s reaction to Wednesday’s riot on Capitol Hill as the reason for her resignation, saying “there is no mistaking the impact [the president’s] rhetoric had on the situation.” Deputy Secretary of Education Mick Zais will serve as acting Secretary of Education until Connecticut Education Commissioner Miguel Cardona is confirmed by the Senate.
AAU, ORGANIZATIONS URGE INCOMING ADMINISTRATION TO RESCIND HUMAN FETAL TISSUE RESEARCH RESTRICTIONS
Yesterday, AAU joined 98 scientific, medical, and patient-based organizations on a letter to President-elect Biden’s transition team calling on the incoming administration to rescind restrictions and policy changes on human fetal tissue. A 2019 Department of Health and Human Services policy banned intramural NIH research using human fetal tissue; the policy change also created additional and unnecessary barriers that obstructed new extramural research, which chilled vital public health and other scientific research during a global pandemic. The letter also requests that the incoming Biden administration commission an expert to report on the value of scientific and medical research that uses human fetal tissue.
HOUSE SPACE, SCIENCE, AND TECHNOLOGY LEADERS INTRODUCE THE “SUPPORTING EARLY-CAREER RESEARCHERS ACT”
House Space, Science, and Technology Committee Chair Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX) and Ranking Member Frank Lucas (R-OK) on Monday introduced H.R. 144, the “Supporting Early-Career Researchers Act.” The measure would create a new program at the National Science Foundation to help prevent the loss of research talent as a result of the pandemic. “We must act now to avoid losing an entire generation of talented scientists and engineers from our research pipeline,” Johnson said of the measure while calling for bipartisan support. In the 116th Congress, the committee held a hearing on the previous version of H.R. 144 and H.R. 7308, the “Research Investment to Spark the Economy Act.”
AAU STAFFING AND JOB ANNOUNCEMENT
On Jan. 26, Federal Relations Officer Katie Steen will leave AAU to join the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition as its new manager of public policy and advocacy. Katie served as a graduate student intern at AAU in 2015 and joined the AAU staff in 2018. While at AAU, she made many important contributions to the association’s federal relations activities and policy initiatives. Katie led AAU’s advocacy for the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative, served as co-chair of the AFRI Coalition, project manager for AAU’s Accelerating Public Access to Research Data Initiative, and a co-principal investigator on an NSF grant to the Association of Research Libraries. We wish her well and thank her for her service in support of America’s leading research universities.