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AAU Weekly Wrap-up, May 10, 2019

  • Budget and Appropriations Update
    • House Appropriations Committee Advances FY20 Labor-HHS-Ed Bill
    • Labor-HHS-Ed Report Highlights
    • House Appropriations Committee Approves 302(b) Allocations
    • House Appropriators Markup More FY20 Bills
  • AAU, Associations Applaud FY20 L-HHS-Ed Appropriations Bill
  • Court Temporarily Blocks USCIS Unlawful Presence Memo
  • White House Announces Joint Committee to Support U.S. Research Community
  • CNSR Requests Continued Support for DOD CDMRP Programs
  • Upcoming Events


The House Appropriations Committee Wednesday advanced a $189.8 billion FY20 Labor-Health and Human Services-Education spending bill which includes significant increases for NIH, student aid, international education, Institutes of Education Sciences, and other programs. The bill provides $75.9 billion for the Education Department, nearly $12 billion more than the administration’s budget request and 6 percent above FY19. The measure also includes a 10 percent funding increase for Labor and 9 percent increase for HHS. AAU has received intel that the Senate could mark up its version of L-HHS-Ed as early as June 4.

House Appropriators released a report to accompany the L-HHS-Ed spending bill. In the report, the Committee directs the Education Department to provide loan cancellation and reimbursement guidance by January 1, 2020, to provide monthly updates on defrauded borrower claims to the House Education and Labor Committee, and to report on Department accreditation consideration. The report asserts the Department underestimated the cost and burden of proposed Title IX regulations and failed to adequately consult with stakeholders.

The Committee provides $350 million for Temporary Extended Public Service Loan Forgiveness, and a $17 million increase for Title VI programs. The report mentions the importance of study abroad programs to prepare American students to become productive members of a global workforce.

The report directs NIH to ensure all Advisory Committees adhere to legal composition requirements, to collaborate with the National Academies to develop best practices to address sexual harassment, and to provide a report on non-human primate use which is problematic for many AAU members. The Committee also requests the National Institute on Drug Abuse to report on barriers to Schedule I compound research.

AAU is monitoring and discussing the report language on primates and sexual harassment with stakeholders.

RESOURCE AVAILABLE: AAU Applauds Proposed Increases for Higher Education, Scientific Research

House Appropriations Committee Wednesday also approved FY20 302(b) allocations, dividing $1.295 trillion between the 12 appropriations subcommittees. The Committee allocated funding increases for the subcommittees that fund AAU’s education and research priorities, including: 6 percent for Agriculture-FDA, 4 percent for Commerce-Justice-Science, 3 percent for Defense, 4 percent for Energy and Water, and 6 percent for Labor-HHS-Education.

The House Appropriations Committee Thursday advanced the FY20 Military Construction-Veterans Affairs and Legislative Branch funding bills. The Subcommittee on State, Foreign Operations and Related Agencies today approved its FY20 State-Foreign Ops funding bill. House Appropriations subcommittees reportedly plan to Wednesday separately mark up Energy and Water and Interior and Environment funding bills. House Democratic leaders aim to pass all 12 annual spending bills through the House by the end of June. The Senate Appropriations Committee has not yet announced its markup schedule.

RESOURCES AVAILABLE: AAU FY20 Funding Priorities Table


AAU, together with 36 higher education associations, yesterday sent a letter to House Appropriations Chair Nita Lowey (D-NY) and Ranking Member Kay Granger (R-TX) to express their strong support for the positive impact of the FY20 Labor-HHS-Education appropriations bill on financial aid and biomedical research. The associations thanked appropriators for a $150 increase for the maximum Pell Grant, substantial increases for the Federal Work-Study and the Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant programs, and funding increases for critical programs such as TRIO, GEAR UP, Title VI international education, and many more. The associations also lauded a $2 billion increase in NIH funding, which “plays a role in improving the quality of life for all Americans, while also strengthening our economy and global competitiveness.”


A U.S. District Court Judge Friday temporarily blocked the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services’ August 2018 memo stating nonimmigrant students and exchange visitors holding F, J, and M visas would immediately begin to accrue “unlawful presence” if the visa holders were not in compliance with their visa terms. The memo has ramifications well beyond addressing visa overstays. Students may fall out of compliance for many reasons: medical leave, a reduced course load, or paperwork errors. Accruing more than 180 days of “unlawful presence” can result in subsequent three- and 10-year bans from reentering the U.S.

AAU’s Board last year made the decision to support the litigation despite not being a named plaintiff. The litigation alleges the memo violates federal regulatory law and conflicts with federal immigration law. The lawsuit is an important effort to support our international students and scholars and help them avoid status violations. The Court order means that USCIS must revert to its prior rules relating to unlawful presence while a lawsuit challenging the legality of the new policy continues. Both sides will file a motion for summary judgement on May 13. A Court decision could come as early as June.


The White House National Science and Technology Council Monday announced a new Joint Committee to “focus on improving the safety, integrity, and productivity of research settings.” Led by the NSTC Committee on Science and Committee on Science and Technology Enterprise, the joint committee will examine: administrative burdens on federally-funded research; research rigor and integrity; equitable, inclusive, and safe research settings; and protecting American research assets.


CNSR, of which AAU is a member, yesterday joined a diverse coalition of organizations to send letters to House and Senate Defense leaders to request their continued support for defense health research programs funded through the Defense Department’s Congressionally Directed Medical Research Programs. The letter says, “the well-executed and efficient programs within the defense health research programs demonstrate responsible government stewardship of taxpayer dollars and benefit current and former military service members, the general patient population, and our nation’s economy.”


MAY 14 TFAI BENCHMARKS 2019 LUNCHEON; 12:00 - 1:30 p.m. ET, 2325 Rayburn House Office Building. RSVP here. CFR are encouraged to share widely.


MAY 15 AGRICULTURAL RESEARCH CONGRESSIONAL EXHIBIT & RECEPTION; 5:30 - 7:30 p.m. ET, Rayburn House Office Building Cafeteria. See the invitation here, and RSVP here.


MAY 21 NHA EVENT; Divided States of America? A Live Show of the Popular Weekly Podcast Backstory. 2:00 p.m. ET, 385 Russell Senate Office Building, RSVP here.


MAY 22 CNSR SCIENCE, TECHNOLOGY, & INFORMATION EXCHANGE (STIx) BRIEFING; 9:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. ET, 2325 Rayburn House Office Building. Register here. For more information, see invitation here. If interested in presenting a poster, email Aaron Kiesler.