- Budget and Appropriations Update
- President’s FY20 Budget Proposal Release Scheduled for Monday, March 11
- Education Dept. to Hold Monday Briefing on President’s FY20 Budget Proposal
- House Appropriations Releases FY20 Member Submission Deadlines
- AAU Announces PhD Education Initiative Grants
- Trump Promises Executive Order on Campus Free Speech
- Labor Department Proposes New Overtime Rule
- AAU, Associations Comment on USPTO Patent Subject Matter Eligibility Guidance
- Ad Hoc Group for Medical Research Releases FY20 NIH Funding Recommendation
- United for Medical Research Urges Appropriators to Raise Budget Caps
- Science Groups’ Survey Shows Bipartisan Support for Federal Research Funds
- Energy Sciences Coalition Encourages Swift Confirmation of Energy Dept. Nominee
- Senate, Ed Dept. Scrutinize Confucius Institutes
- Upcoming Events
BUDGET AND APPROPRIATIONS UPDATE
The administration is expected Monday to release its FY20 budget proposal, which should then be posted to the OMB website. Despite three percent estimated annual economic growth and deep spending cuts, the budget will reportedly show persisting deficits. Acting OMB Director Russell Vought said the request will seek a five percent cut to non-defense discretionary spending, though the administration has not specified if this decrease will be in addition to the nine percent sequester cuts stipulated by the Budget Control Act.
Bloomberg has more.
The Education Department will Monday hold a 2:30 p.m. ET briefing at the Potomac Center Plaza Auditorium to discuss the administration’s FY20 education budget request. Meeting materials will be distributed on site, and the department will live-stream the briefing.
The House Appropriations Committee last week released FY20 member submission instructions. Senate Appropriations deadlines are forthcoming. Some Members of Congress set deadlines as early as March 1 for constituents’ recommendations for FY20 programmatic requests for appropriations.
AAU ANNOUNCES PHD GRADUATION GRANTS
AAU yesterday announced it received grants from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation and the Charles Koch Foundation to launch the AAU PhD Education Initiative, which aims to change the culture surrounding doctoral education at AAU institutions. The AAU PhD Initiative’s mission is to promote more student-centered doctoral education at AAU universities by making diverse PhD career pathways visible, valued, and viable.
TRUMP PROMISES EXECUTIVE ORDER ON CAMPUS FREE SPEECH
President Trump promised he would soon issue an Executive Order requiring colleges to support free speech or be denied federal research funding. In a speech to the 2019 Conservative Political Action Conference, the president did not elaborate on timing or how the order would work, including how protection of free speech on campus would be measured.
LABOR DEPARTMENT PROPOSES NEW OVERTIME RULE
The Department of Labor yesterday proposed a rule that would increase the annual salary threshold that determines which employees qualify for overtime pay, last updated in 2004. The rule would raise the current threshold from $23,600 per year to $35,304, far short of the Obama administration’s proposed increase to $47,476. The proposed rule could face challenges by some labor advocates who say the rule doesn’t go far enough and businesses worried about increased labor costs. AAU will be working with other higher education organizations on potential comments, due May 6.
The Wall Street Journal has more.
RESOURCES AVAILABLE: AAU previously submitted comments on this rule.
AAU, ASSOCIATIONS COMMENT ON USPTO PATENT SUBJECT MATTER ELIGIBILITY GUIDANCE
AAU, APLU, and COGR, today submitted comments to the U.S. Patent and Trademark office expressing support for their 2019 Revised Subject Matter Eligibility Guidance, which revises the procedures officials use to determine patentability under Section 101 of the patent law. Courts have held that “abstract ideas” don’t meet Section 101’s patent eligibility threshold, causing uncertainty and confusion for universities.
AD HOC GROUP FOR MEDICAL RESEARCH RELEASES FY20 NIH FUNDING RECOMMENDATION
The Ad Hoc Group for Medical Research, of which AAU is a member, yesterday released their FY20 Funding Recommendations for the NIH. The group requested at least $41.6 billion, a $2.5 billion increase over NIH’s FY19 funding level, saying this “would allow for meaningful growth above inflation in the base budget that would expand NIH’s capacity to support promising science in all disciplines.”
UNITED FOR MEDICAL RESEARCH URGES APPROPRIATORS TO RAISE BUDGET CAPS
United for Medical Research, of which AAU is a member, last week submitted letters to House and Senate leaders thanking them for their continued support of the NIH and urging them to negotiate a new budget agreement that raises discretionary spending caps for FY20 and 21. Congress in FY18 and FY19 reversed the Budget and Control Act’s (BCA) damaging sequestration cuts, but new cuts are slated for FY20 and FY21 without a deal from congress and the administration. The letters say: “To safeguard our nation’s most important institutions, and to help keep America safe, healthy and competitive, we believe it’s essential that Congress raise the budget caps equally between non-defense and defense programs.”
SCIENCE GROUPS’ SURVEY SHOWS BIPARTISAN SUPPORT FOR FEDERAL RESEARCH FUNDS
A group of organizations committed to advancing U.S. science, technology, and engineering, Wednesday released a new national survey that shows 88 percent of voters believe it is important for the federal government to fund science, technology, and engineering research. Seventy-five percent of respondents said they feel more favorable to congressional candidates that support increases to federal funds for science and technology research. AAU collaborated with the group to develop and release the poll.
ENERGY SCIENCES COALITION ENCOURAGES SWIFT CONFIRMATION OF ENERGY DEPT. NOMINEE
The Energy Sciences Coalition, of which AAU is a member, Tuesday sent a letter to Senate leadership encouraging them to swiftly confirm Dr. Christopher Fall as director of the Energy Department Office of Science. Dr. Fall’s prior experience, the letter says, makes him well qualified to lead the Office of Sciences, which needs a Senate-confirmed Director to “set clear research and science infrastructure priorities at a time when the U.S. is facing major international competition … and U.S. economic competitiveness and national security increasingly rely on innovations in science and technology.”
SENATE, ED DEPT. SCRUTINIZE CONFUCIUS INSTITUTES
Correction: An earlier version of this item incorrectly reported Ed Dept. Secretary DeVos addressed the Senate Subcommittee and omitted the GAO report, and has been updated.
The Senate Homeland Security subcommittee met last week to discuss transparency and reciprocity in Confucius institutes, a GAO report, and its bipartisan report, China’s Impact on the U.S. Education System . In absence of major change, the subcommittee 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 received from the Chinese government.
During the hearing, Education Department Deputy Secretary Mike Zais told senators the department would issue new guidance for colleges accepting foreign gifts. Witnesses also highlighted the need for increased oversight at the State Department for J-1 visas and Confucius institutes.
MARCH 13 EDUCATIONAL BRIEFING: “STUDENT VISAS, INTERNATIONAL STUDENTS, AND THE AMERICAN INNOVATION ECOSYSTEM;” 2:00 – 3:00 p.m. ET, 2237 Rayburn House Office Building. RSVP here. More information here.