- Budget and Appropriations Update
- House Appropriations Committee Releases FY20 Member Submission Deadlines
- Administration to Seek Non-Defense Spending Cuts
- House Votes to Block National State of Emergency Border Funds
- NIH Issues Anti-Sexual Harassment Statement
- Senate Subcommittee Meets on China’s Influence on Campus
- Senate HELP Ranking Member Outlines Higher Ed Reform Vision
- House Committee to Hold Hearing: Maintaining U.S. Leadership in Science and Technology
- Senate Confirms Wheeler as EPA Chief
- House Passes Innovators to Entrepreneurs Act of 2019
- OSTP Releases 2018 Science and Technology Highlights Report
BUDGET AND APPROPRIATIONS UPDATE
The House Appropriations Committee today released FY20 member submission instructions and deadlines for each subcommittee. Senate Appropriations deadlines are forthcoming.
Acting OMB Director Russell Vought Monday said the White House’s forthcoming FY20 budget proposal will seek a 5 percent cut to non-defense discretionary spending. In his op-ed in RealClearPolitics, Vought says the proposal will adhere “to the spending caps already set in law.” Congress has until October to raise the budget caps, or risks cutting FY20 defense spending by $71 billion and non-defense spending by $55 billion. Members of both parties in Congress have said they do not support the administration’s proposed non-defense spending cut.
RESOURCE AVAILABLE: AAU and APLU sent a letter calling for a bipartisan budget agreement that raises discretionary spending caps for FY20 and FY21.
House Democrats Tuesday voted to pass a resolution to block the president’s declaration of a national state of emergency for America’s southern border. The Senate must vote on the resolution within 18 days. President Trump has already promised to veto the measure, a move that could be overturned by a two-thirds vote in both the House and Senate.
NIH ISSUES ANTI-SEXUAL HARASSMENT STATEMENT
The National Institutes of Health yesterday released a statement outlining its plans to address sexual harassment in the scientific workplace, which include increasing oversight and transparency and accepting guidance from internal and external advisory groups. Previously, the NIH created the Working Group on Changing the Culture to End Sexual Harassment, which met for the first time this month. The Working Group will report interim recommendations in June and final recommendations in December.
SENATE SUBCOMMITTEE MEETS ON CHINA’S INFLUENCE ON CAMPUS
The Senate Homeland Security subcommittee met Thursday to discuss its bipartisan report, China’s Impact on the U.S. Education System, which analyzed more than 100 China-funded Confucius Institutes on college campuses in the U.S. In absence of major change, the report asserts “Confucius Institutes should not continue in the U.S.” The report also says American schools have failed to follow Education Department guidelines for reporting how much money they have received from the Chinese government.
During the hearing, Secretary Betsy DeVos and Deputy Secretary Mike Zais told senators that the department would issue new guidance for colleges accepting foreign gifts.
SENATE HELP RANKING MEMBER OUTLINES HIGHER ED REFORM VISION
Senate HELP Committee Ranking Member Patty Murray (D-WA) yesterday talked about her plans for Higher Education Act Reauthorization. The Senator’s priorities included: "Improving college affordability, holding schools accountable for student success, expanding access to higher education, and increasing campus safety and protecting students' civil rights."
ICYMI: Senate HELP Chair Lamar Alexander’s (R-TN) earlier this month spoke on his vision for HEA reauthorization.
The committee earlier this month began negotiations and announced a series of as-yet unscheduled bipartisan hearings on higher education reform.
HOUSE COMMITTEE TO HOLD HEARING: MAINTAINING U.S. LEADERSHIP IN SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY
The House Committee on Science, Space, & Technology will hold a 2:00 p.m. ET, March 6 hearing titled “Maintaining U.S. Leadership in Science and Technology.” Witnesses include Dr. Marcia McNutt, President of the National Academy of Sciences; Dr. Patrick Gallagher, Chancellor of the University of Pittsburgh; and Dr. Mehmood Khan, Vice Chairman and Chief Scientific Officer at PepsiCo.
SENATE CONFIRMS WHEELER AS EPA CHIEF
The Senate yesterday confirmed Acting Administrator Andrew Wheeler to be the next administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency. Wheeler has led agency efforts to streamline environmental regulations since former Administrator Scott Pruitt stepped down July 2018.
HOUSE PASSES INNOVATION TO ENTREPRENEURS ACT OF 2019
The House Monday passed the bipartisan H.R. 539, the Innovators to Entrepreneurs Act of 2019, to expand the curriculum of and participation in the National Science Foundation Innovation Corps (I-Corps). Launched in 2012, I-Corps links scientists, tech experts, and engineers with businesses, and trains innovators to turn their research into new products and businesses. AAU has endorsed this legislation. A companion bill has been introduced in the Senate.
ICYMI: AAU previously endorsed this legislation.
OSTP RELEASES 2018 SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY HIGHLIGHTS REPORT
The White House last week released the Office of Science and Technology Policy’s 2018 Science and Technology Highlights Report. Highlighted are innovative scientific achievements in artificial intelligence, energy dominance, STEM education and workforce, and more. The report says: “Under the leadership of OSTP Director Dr. Kelvin Droegemeier, OSTP will continue supporting American scientists and technologists and working with the interagency and other collaborators to ensure that the United States maintains and accelerates global leadership in scientific and technological advancement.”