- Budget and Appropriations Update
- Congress Passes CR to Fund Government Through 11/21
- House Announces Impeachment Inquiry, Potentially Stalling Appropriations Efforts
- Senate Continues Work on Appropriations; Increases for NSF, NASA, NEH
- Senator Alexander Reveals HEA Reauthorization Package
- AAU, APLU Submit Amicus Brief on SCOTUS Copyright Case
- Labor Department Publishes Final Overtime Rule
- Ed Dept Proposes Information Collection on Foreign Gifts, Contracts Disclosures
- National Labor Relations Board Proposes Rule to Revoke Student Unionizing Rights
BUDGET AND APPROPRIATIONS UPDATE
The Senate yesterday approved the House-passed 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 president is expected to sign the bill soon.
House leaders have announced they will open a formal impeachment inquiry of President Trump, which could lead to strain on the appropriations process. Senate Appropriations Chair Richard Shelby (R-AL) has said that impeachment proceedings may affect regular order in the Senate, and force “more and more continuing resolutions.” Shelby today reportedly met with the president to discuss FY20 budget and appropriations negotiations.
The Senate Appropriations Committee has approved ten of its 12 FY20 appropriations bills, including Agriculture-FDA, Transportation-Housing and Urban Development, Financial Services, Defense, and Energy-Water . This week, the Committee passed Interior-Environment, Homeland Security, Commerce-Justice-Science , State-Foreign Operations , and Legislative Branch measures.
Senate appropriators yesterday advanced the $70.83 billion FY20 Commerce-Justice-Science spending measure, which is $6.72 billion above FY19 levels. The measure funds NSF at $8.32 billion, 3 percent above FY19, and $22.75 billion for NASA, 5.8 percent above FY19. The bill flat funds NASA Science programs at $6.9 billion, provides NASA Aeronautics programs with an 8.1 percent increase to $784 million, and increases NASA Space Technology programs 16.1 percent above FY19 to $1.08 billion.
The Committee also passed the $35.8 billion FY20 Interior-Environment appropriations bill, which includes a 1.3 percent increase for the National Endowment for the Humanities to $157 million.
RESOURCES AVAILABLE: AAU FY20 Funding Priorities Table (UPDATED)
SENATOR ALEXANDER REVEALS HEA REAUTHORIZATION PACKAGE
Senate Education Committee Chair Lamar Alexander (R-TN) yesterday unveiled the “Student Aid Improvement Act of 2019,” a package of eight bills that would rewrite parts of the Higher Education Act. The bipartisan measures would simplify FAFSA and financial aid letters, and expand the Pell Grant to include short-term skills training and incarcerated students. Alexander has said he may add “at least” three more bills to the package, including the College Transparency Act which would expand student outcome tracking.
The package was introduced after Alexander blocked for a second time floor consideration of the H.R. 2486, the FUTURE Act, legislation that would extend 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.
RESOURCE AVAILABLE: AAU, Associations Urge House Leaders to Pass FUTURE Act
AAU, APLU SUBMIT AMICUS BRIEF ON SCOTUS COPYRIGHT CASE
AAU today joined APLU in filing an amicus brief in Allen v. Cooper , a case that will be argued before the Supreme Court on November 5. The central question in the case is whether Congress validly abrogated Eleventh Amendment state sovereign immunity through the Copyright Remedy Clarification Act (CRCA), which allows copyright holders to sue states whose copyrights are infringed by those states. Although this case does not directly involve a state college or university, a decision agreeing with the petitioner that Congress had authority to abrogate state sovereign immunity via the CRCA would have negative consequences for state institutions of higher education. The brief asserts that state sovereign immunity “ensures that state universities can continue to serve the vital public goals of education, research, and development…With the increased cost of warding off litigation, state universities will be forced to divert scarce resources currently spent purchasing intellectual property licenses, buying hundreds of thousands of library books, and educating millions of students.”
AAU will share the brief when it is available.
LABOR DEPARTMENT PUBLISHES FINAL OVERTIME RULE
The Labor Department Tuesday published the final rule to increase the annual salary thresholds that determine whether executive, administrative, and professional employees are exempt from the Fair Labor Standards Act’s minimum wage and overtime pay requirements. The rule raises the “standard salary level” from the currently enforced level of $455 per week to $684 per week (equivalent to $35,568 per year for a full-year worker). The new rule also raises the total annual compensation requirement for “highly compensated employees” from the currently enforced level of $100,000 per year to $107,432 per year. The rule does not allow employers to prorate the salary level for part-time employees, noting that the department has previously rejected requests to do so. The department has said it intends to update the standard salary and HCEs total annual compensation levels more regularly in the future through notice-and-comment rulemaking. The rule will take effect January 1, 2020.
RESOURCE AVAILABLE: AAU, Associations Submit Comments on Labor Department Overtime Rule
ED DEPT PROPOSES INFORMATION COLLECTION ON FOREIGN GIFTS, CONTRACTS DISCLOSURES
The Education Department recently issued a notice proposing new information collection on “Foreign Gifts and Contracts Disclosures.” The proposal substantially expands the information institutions must report to comply with Section 117. The department notes in its supporting statement that it “believe[s] that making these questions more detailed and moving them into a separate information collection instrument will help to ensure that institutions comply with the statutory disclosure requirement.”
NATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS BOARD PROPOSES RULE TO REVOKE STUDENT UNIONIZING RIGHTS
The National Labor Relations Board on Monday published a proposed rule that would establish that students at private colleges and universities who perform any services for compensation – including, but not limited to, teaching or research – in connection with their studies are not “employees” under the National Labor Relations Act and thus do not have the right to collectively bargain under the auspices of the NLRA. Initial comments are due 60 days after the date of publication. AAU will work with ACE and other higher education associations to submit comments on the proposed rule.