- Budget and Appropriations update
- House Passes Continuing Resolution Funding Government Through 11/21
- Senate at Odds Over First Appropriations Package
- Senate Appropriations Quagmire
- TFAI Encourages Robust Investments in Research and Development
- House Select Committee Holds Hearing on Budget and Appropriations Process Reform
- OSTP Letter to Research Community Describes Efforts of JCORE
- AAU, APLU Send Letter to Lawmakers to Establish NDAA Conference Priorities
- AAU, Coalition Express Concerns for Human Fetal Tissue Research Guidelines
- AAU, Associations Urge House Leaders to Pass FUTURE Act
- Senator Alexander Blocks FUTURE Act, Presses for Bipartisan Higher Education Package
- Upcoming Events
BUDGET AND APPROPRIATIONS UPDATE
Congress has just five joint legislative days to agree on all 12 FY20 appropriations bills and fund the government by September 30.
The House yesterday passed a continuing resolution that would fund the government at current levels until November 21 to prevent a second government shutdown this year and allow Congress more time to agree on FY20 spending levels. The measure now moves to the Senate for consideration.
Senate Democrats Wednesday blocked a Republican procedural vote on House-passed H.R. 2740. The measure, which includes Defense, Labor-Health and Human Services-Education, Energy-Water, and Senate-Foreign Operations, could later be amended to include Senate-approved funding levels for the four measures. However, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) has vowed to oppose FY20 funding measures until Republicans begin to work with Democrats to “secure bipartisan bicameral 302(b) spending allocations.”
The Senate Appropriations Committee Wednesday released its FY20 Labor-HHS-Ed appropriations bill, which “combines $178.3 billion in base allocation with $9.4 billion in changes in mandatory programs,” and increases funding just one percent above FY19 levels. The measure increases NIH funding 7.6 percent to $42.08 billion, and includes $6.33 million for the maximum Pell Grant, an increase of 2.2 percent over FY19. Other student aid programs, including Federal Work-Study, Supplemental Education Opportunity Grants, Graduate Assistance in Areas of National Need, domestic and overseas International Education and Foreign Language, and the Institute of Education Sciences, were funded at FY19 levels.
Meanwhile, the Senate Appropriations Committee has passed five of 12 of its FY20 appropriations measures.
The Senate Appropriations Committee Wednesday advanced the FY20 Agriculture-FDA funding bill, which sets federal agriculture and nutrition program funding at $151.7 billion, $87 million below FY19 levels. The measure included $425 million for AFRI, an increase of 2.4 percent above FY19. The Committee also approved the Transportation-Housing and Urban Development and Financial Services FY20 spending measures.
RESOURCES AVAILABLE: AAU FY20 Funding Priorities Table (UPDATED)
TFAI ENCOURAGES ROBUST INVESTMENTS IN RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT
The Task Force on American Innovation, of which AAU is a member, recently sent a letter to Congressional Appropriations Committee Leaders encouraging bipartisan support for significant investments in research and development and urging prompt completion of the FY20 appropriations process. The letter requests robust investment in scientific and engineering R&D in the DOE Office of Science, the National Nuclear Security Administration, ARPA-E, NSF, NASA, NIST, and the Defense Department. “It remains imperative that you commit to stable, continuous and robust funding for these agencies that help strengthen the U.S. economy, grow the U.S. workforce, and maintain U.S. leadership in innovation,” the coalition says.
HOUSE SELECT COMMITTEE HOLDS HEARING ON BUDGET AND APPROPRIATIONS PROCESS REFORM
The House Select Committee on the Modernization of Congress yesterday held a hearing to examine budget and appropriations process reform. Representatives heard testimony from the co-chairs of the now defunct Joint Select Committee on Budget and Appropriations Process Reform, House Appropriations Committee Chair Nita Lowey (D-NY) and Budget Committee Ranking Member Steve Womack (R-AR). They shared lessons, background, and recommendations for continued opportunities to reform the budget process. The Select Committee also heard from expert witnesses including AAU Executive Vice President and Vice President for Federal Relations and Convergence Building a Better Budget Process participant Matt Owens, Bipartisan Policy Center Senior Vice President G. William Hoagland, and Congressional Research Service Specialist on Congress and the Legislative Process Meagan Lynch.
In his testimony, Owens laid out the history, themes, principles of Convergence’s budget project and highlighted five reform proposals to improve the federal budget process. “No single budget process reform or package of reforms can by itself remedy the prevailing dysfunction,” said Owens. Rather, “process matters, and changes—small or large—that Congress decides to adopt can create ownership and buy-in for new expectations and norms for determining and managing our nation’s finances.”
OSTP LETTER TO RESEARCH COMMUNITY DESCRIBES EFFORTS OF JCORE
The Office of Science and Technology Policy Director Kelvin Droegemeier Tuesday released a letter to the research community about the work of the Joint Committee on the Research Environment. Led by Droegemeier and NSTC Executive Director Chloe Kontos, the joint committee is composed of four subcommittees: Safe and Inclusive Research Environments, Rigor and Integrity in Research, Research Security, and Reducing Administrative Burden.
In the letter Droegemeier describes the current environment of science and security in American research, and lays out JCORE’s four main efforts: coordinating outreach and engagement; establishing and coordinating disclosure requirements; developing best practices for academic research institutions; and developing risk identification, assessment, and management methods. The letter also says OSTP will over the coming months hold meetings of the joint committee on these matters at “academic institutions across the Nation.”
AAU, APLU SEND LETTER TO LAWMAKERS TO ESTABLISH NDAA CONFERENCE PRIORITIES
AAU and APLU sent a letter this week to the House and Senate conferees designated to negotiate the final FY20 National Defense Authorization Act. The conference committee met for the first time on Thursday to begin reconciling differences between H.R. 2500 and S. 1790 . To ensure the U.S. remains the global innovation leader, the letter offers three recommendations: include H.R. 3038, the “ Securing American Science and Technology Act ,” in the conference agreement; make robust investments in defense science and technology programs; and expand the NIH’s “Phase 0” proof-of-concept program to the STTR program at DoD to help move defense research projects into the marketplace for applied use.
AAU, COALITION EXPRESS CONCERNS FOR HUMAN FETAL TISSUE RESEARCH GUIDELINES
AAU recently joined a coalition of 81 organizations representing scientists, clinicians, patients, and higher education groups on a letter to HHS Secretary Alex Azar to express concerns over two NIH notices – “Changes to NIH Requirements Regarding Proposed Human Fetal Tissue Research” and “Clarifying Competing Application Instructions and Notice of Publication of Frequently Asked Questions Regarding Proposed Human Fetal Tissue Research.” The organizations say these new requirements could create barriers to lifesaving research and delay the development of new treatments.
The coalition suggests modifications to the notices, including a request to maintain the NIH’s current peer review guidelines for human fetal tissue research and easing the administrative burden for this research. The letter also requests revisions to the June 5 notice to clarify its impact on trainees, fellows, and labs with existing human fetal tissue supplies.
AAU, ASSOCIATIONS URGE HOUSE LEADERS TO PASS FUTURE ACT
AAU, along with ACE, APLU, and 40 other higher education organizations, recently sent a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) urging they pass H.R. 2486 , the “Fostering Undergraduate Talent by Unlocking Resources for Education Act.” This measure extends vital funding for STEM education, student completion, and other infrastructure programs that benefit Historically Black Colleges and Universities, Tribal Colleges and Universities, Hispanic-Serving Institutions, and other Minority-Serving Institutions. Initially set to expire September 30, the legislation reauthorizes $255 million of mandatory funding each year for programs under Title III of the Higher Education Act.
The FUTURE Act passed the House September 17.
SENATOR ALEXANDER BLOCKS FUTURE ACT, PRESSES FOR BIPARTISAN HIGHER EDUCATION PACKAGE
The FUTURE Act was yesterday brought to the Senate floor for consideration with unanimous consent, but Senator Lamar Alexander (R-TN) objected and the measure was not considered. Alexander instead proposed attaching the extension to a package of bipartisan bills to reauthorize and reform elements of the Higher Education Act, which could be considered as early as next week. According to Alexander, a package would include simplifying FAFSA, increasing the maximum Pell Grant and expanding the program, and extending federal aid to incarcerated students. Ranking Member Patty Murray (D-WA) and other Democrats expressed frustration with Alexander blocking the FUTURE Act.
SEPTEMBER 24 NATIONAL ACADEMIES OF SCIENCE REPRODUCIBILITY AND REPLICABILITY IN SCIENCE SYMPOSIUM; 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m., The National Academy of Sciences Building Lecture Room, 2101 Constitution Ave, NW. Agenda available here, RSVP here.
SEPTEMBER 26 – 27 INSTITUTE FOR RESEARCH ON INNOVATION & SCIENCE ANNUAL SUMMIT; Ann Arbor, Michigan. More information and registration available here.