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AAU Weekly Wrap-up, September 8, 2017

CONTENTS:

  • Budget and Appropriations Update
    • Congress Approves CR-Disaster Relief-Debt Ceiling Spending Package
    • House Postpones FY18 Mini-Omnibus Bill
    • Senate Appropriations Committee Approves Bipartisan FY18 Labor-HHS-Education Funding Bill
    • AAU Urges Congressional Leaders to Reach FY18 Bipartisan Budget Agreement
    • AAU Joins CNSF, CNSR FY18 Budget Letters
  • AAU Urges Congress to Act on DACA
  • Education Department to Seek Public Input on Campus Sexual Assault Policies
  • NSF Notice to University Presidents Affected by Hurricane Harvey

BUDGET AND APPROPRIATIONS UPDATE

Today, the House passed a spending bill (H.R. 601) that provides Hurricane Harvey relief aid and both extends federal funding and raises the debt limit through December 8. The measure passed the Senate yesterday, and now moves to the President's desk. The spending package reflects a midweek deal struck between President Trump, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) to extend the debt limit into December, in a bill combined with a continuing resolution, and hurricane relief aid.

After many hours of debate, the House today postponed a vote on the FY18 omnibus spending package (H.R. 3354) which combines the eight remaining appropriations bills that did not receive a vote prior to August recess. The House is expected to take up the measure next week.

The Senate Appropriations Committee advanced its bipartisan FY18 Labor-HHS-Education spending bill yesterday. In addition to a $2 billion increase for the National Institutes of Health, the bill provides the first discretionary increase in the maximum Pell grant in more than a decade - from $5,920 to $6,020, reflecting a 1.7 percent or $100 increase. Bill language prohibits deviation from current facilities and administrative (F&A) cost practice.

AAU sent a letter Tuesday to congressional leaders urging they reach a bipartisan budget agreement to raise the FY18 budget caps. In addition, AAU joined both the Coalition for National Science Funding (CNSF) and the Coalition for National Security Research (CNSR) in FY18 funding letters sent Tuesday. The CNSF letter encourages congressional leaders to provide at least $7.8 billion for NSF to reflect a five percent increase above the FY17 enacted level. The CNSR letter commends Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman John McCain (R-AZ) and Ranking Member Jack Reed (D-RI) for their leadership in crafting the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA, S.1519) for FY18, which rejects most proposed basic research reductions contained in the President's FY18 budget request.

AAU URGES CONGRESS TO ACT ON DACA

Yesterday, 57 AAU presidents and chancellors sent a letter urging Congress to pass a permanent legislative solution to protect Dreamers. The letter states, "America needs hardworking talented people - and these students are already meaningful members of our society. They represent what is best about America, and as scholars and leaders they are a vital part of our future."

AAU President Mary Sue Coleman issued a statement Tuesday condemning the administration's decision and encouraging Congress to protect these young people by enacting bipartisan legislation.

EDUCATION DEPARTMENT TO SEEK PUBLIC INPUT ON CAMPUS SEXUAL ASSAULT POLICIES

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos announced Thursday the Department will revise 2011 campus sexual assault guidance via formal rulemaking. She acknowledged that although the previous administration helped elevate this issue, the current system is unfair to those accused of perpetrating sexual assault or misconduct. DeVos said the administration will give all sides involved a chance to give input on how it should move forward.

NSF ISSUES NOTICE TO UNIVERSITY PRESIDENTS AFFECTED BY HURRICANE HARVEY

Last week, the National Science Foundation (NSF) issued a notice to university presidents and chancellors to reassure them that the agency will continue to support research and education programs in the wake of Hurricane Harvey. NSF Director France Cordova encouraged each investigator to contact his or her program officer to discuss how each NSF-supported project has been affected. The notice also encourages institutions, faculty, and students to contact NSF at harvey@nsf.gov with any questions relative to NSF awards or other issues related to Hurricane Harvey.

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