- Budget and Appropriations Update
- House Education Committee Introduces HEA Reauthorization Proposal
- State Dept Orders Chinese Diplomats to Report Educational, Research Institution Visits
- AAU Releases 2019 Survey on Sexual Assault and Misconduct
- Executive Order Would “Reinvigorate” Administrative PAYGO
- House Agriculture Committee Members Introduce America Grows Act
- Energy Secretary Announces Year-End Resignation
- Senate Confirms Barbara Barrett as Air Force Secretary
- AAU Faculty Awarded Nobel Prizes
- Upcoming Events
BUDGET AND APPROPRIATIONS UPDATE
Lawmakers now have just 16 joint legislative days left to agree on all 12 FY20 appropriations bills and fund the government before the current continuing resolution expires on November 21. As of October 1, the House passed 10 of 12 annual spending measures, and the Senate Appropriations Committee advanced 10 bills.
The Senate reportedly will next week debate two FY20 spending packages. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has said he will hold a “test vote” on H.R. 3055, a House-passed package of FY20 appropriations measures. The package includes: Agriculture-FDA, Commerce-Justice-Science, Interior-Environment, Transportation-HUD, and Military Construction-VA which has not yet been introduced in the Senate. According to Senate Appropriations Committee Ranking Member Patrick Leahy (D-VT), the contents of this package are reportedly still being negotiated.
If the “test vote” package passes, McConnell said he will bring up a H.R. 2740, another house-passed package of defense-related appropriations bills. The House-passed package included Defense, Labor-Health and Human Services-Education, State-Foreign Operations, and Energy-Water. McConnell last month tried to pass H.R. 2740, but the motion to proceed did not pass and the bill was not brought up for a vote.
While Congressional staff engaged in talks over the recess to reconcile the different spending allocations between the House and Senate, a deal has not been reached. Senate Appropriations Chair Richard Shelby (R-AL) reportedly said he believed a second continuing resolution may be necessary as FY20 negotiations reach a “prolonged slump.” Disagreement over the definition of a “poison pill,” the pending impeachment inquiry, and funding for the president’s border wall continue to be sticking points for negotiations.
RESOURCE AVAILABLE: AAU FY20 Funding Priorities Table
HOUSE EDUCATION COMMITTEE INTRODUCES HEA REAUTHORIZATION PROPOSAL
Democrats on the House Education and Labor Committee on Tuesday introduced their Higher Education Act reauthorization proposal, the College Affordability Act. According to Chair Bobby Scott (D-VA), the legislation would cut “the cost of college for students and families,” provide “relief for existing borrowers,” would hold “schools accountable for their students’ success,” and would expand “access to more flexible college options and stronger support.”
AAU President Mary Sue Coleman Tuesday issued a statement that expressed appreciation for elements of the bill that would improve access to higher education but noted concerns about new requirements and unintended consequences.
STATE DEPT ORDERS CHINESE DIPLOMATS TO REPORT EDUCATIONAL, RESEARCH INSTITUTION VISITS
The State Department on Wednesday announced that it will require Chinese diplomats in the U.S. to give the Office of Foreign Missions advance notice of any official meetings with or visits to: state officials; local and municipal officials; educational institutions; and research institutions. The department will publish the notice in the federal register on Monday, October 21.
EXECUTIVE ORDER WOULD “REINVIGORATE” ADMINISTRATIVE PAYGO
The president last week signed an executive order on "Increasing Government Accountability for Administrative Actions by Reinvigorating Administrative PAYGO." The order states: “In May 2005, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) implemented a budget-neutrality requirement on executive branch administrative actions affecting mandatory spending. This mechanism, commonly referred to as ‘Administrative pay-as-you-go’ (Administrative PAYGO), requires each executive department and agency to include one or more proposals for reducing mandatory spending whenever an agency proposes to undertake a discretionary administrative action that would increase mandatory spending.”
The order goes on to say: “In practice, however, agencies have applied this requirement with varying degrees of stringency, sometimes resulting in higher mandatory spending. Accordingly, institutionalizing and reinvigorating Administrative PAYGO through this order is a prudent approach to keeping mandatory spending under control.”
AAU RELEASES 2019 SURVEY ON SEXUAL ASSAULT AND MISCONDUCT
AAU Tuesday released the aggregate report from the 2019 AAU Campus Climate Survey on Sexual Assault and Misconduct, a follow-up to our landmark 2015 Campus Climate Survey and 2017 Campus Activities Survey. A total of 181,752 students from 33 colleges and universities, including 32 AAU member schools, completed the survey. The results provide cause for both hope and continued concern. They reveal that, while students know more about university-sponsored resources for victims of sexual assault and misconduct, they still aren’t using these resources often enough. The results also show that rates of sexual assault and misconduct, measured by self-reports from students, have increased slightly since 2015, and that some groups of students – including women, non-cisgender students, and others – continue to be victimized at disproportionately high rates.
HOUSE AG COMMITTEE MEMBERS INTRODUCE AMERICA GROWS ACT
House Agriculture Committee Members Cheri Bustos (D-IL), Kim Schrier (D-WA), and Jimmy Panetta (D-CA) yesterday introduced the America Grows Act, legislation endorsed by AAU. The measure would authorize a five percent annual funding increase over the next five years for USDA research – including AFRI research. “We need to make big, bold investments in agricultural research to empower our farmers to compete across the world,” said Rep. Bustos. “Every dollar invested in agricultural research returns more than 20 dollars to our economy, and critical research is needed to arm farmers with innovative tools to fight the growing climate crisis.”
The bill’s Senate companion, S. 2458, was introduced by Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL).
RESOURCE AVAILABLE: AAU Endorses Legislation to Increase Investments in USDA Research
ENERGY SECRETARY ANNOUNCES YEAR-END RESIGNATION
Energy Department Secretary Rick Perry yesterday said he would step down at the end of 2019. The president today said in a tweet that Energy Department Deputy Secretary Dan Brouillette, a former head of public policy at the U.S. Automobile Association and executive at Ford Motor Company, is expected to replace Perry as Secretary.
SENATE CONFIRMS BARBARA BARRETT AS AIR FORCE SECRETARY
The Senate yesterday confirmed Barbara Barrett as the 25th Secretary of the Air Force. Barret is a member of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory and Rand Corporations boards, and previously served as U.S. Ambassador to Finland.
AAU FACULTY AWARDED NOBEL PRIZES
Seven faculty at five AAU member institutions were awarded 2019 Nobel Prizes. Professor William G. Kaelin of Harvard University and Professor Gregg L. Semenza of the Johns Hopkins University were awarded the prize in Physiology or Medicine. The prize in Chemistry was awarded to University of Texas at Austin’s Professor John B. Goodenough. Professor Emeritus James Peebles of Princeton University was awarded the prize in Physics. The Economic Sciences prize was awarded to Massachusetts Institute of Technology Professors Abhijit Banerjee and Esther Duflo and Harvard University Professor Michael Kremer.