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CFR Update, January 24, 2024

 

Hill Update: Appropriators Still Waiting for Subcommittee Allocations; Border and Military Supplemental Hits Roadblock

Appropriators are still waiting for subcommittee allocations based on the $1.66 trillion topline figure that Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-LA) agreed to earlier this month. According to Bloomberg Government, lawmakers “are getting antsy” as the delay eats into “the extra time members gave themselves” with the recent stopgap measure, which sets March 1 as the deadline to pass four appropriations bills and March 8 as the deadline to pass the remaining eight bills. Senate Appropriations Committee Chair Patty Murray (D-WA) told reporters yesterday that she was still “waiting for the House.” Meanwhile, Senate Appropriations Committee Vice Chair Susan Collins (R-ME) said she was concerned lawmakers would miss the deadlines if they waited any longer.

In other funding news, a deal on a $106 billion supplemental package for border security and military aid is now facing a new roadblock as senators disagree on whether to include $10 billion in humanitarian assistance for Palestinian civilians. CQ reported that it is unlikely the bill will come to the Senate floor this week. Even if the package passes in the Senate, it faces tough odds in the House, where Republicans instead favor attaching a previously passed immigration bill (H.R. 2) that has no chance of passing in the Senate.

 

Update on Bipartisan Workforce Pell Act

Yesterday, AAU convened a virtual meeting with member institutions that would be affected by the offset included in the Bipartisan Workforce Pell Act (H.R. 6585). As you may recall, the bill establishes Workforce Pell Grants that could be used by students for short-term programs. The bill pays for this new initiative by banning all students enrolled at institutions subject to the endowment tax from borrowing any federal student loans.

The Bipartisan Workforce Pell Act could be considered by the full House of Representatives within the next few weeks. More information about the bill is available here. You can also contact Pam Davidson for additional information or details regarding AAU’s concerns with the offset.

 

AAU, Associations Submit Comments on NSF’s Public Access Plan 2.0

AAU, APLU, and COGR submitted comments in response to the National Science Foundation’s request for information on implementing the agency’s Public Access Plan 2.0: Ensuring Open, Immediate, and Equitable Access to National Science Foundation Funded Research. The associations praised the plan for its “positive contributions” to advancing “public access to research data and publications,” but expressed concerns about the plan’s lack of clarity regarding “sharing data for juried conference proceedings” and its “definitions of scientific data and metadata.”

The associations emphasized that they are committed to working with NSF to better understand its challenges and urged the agency to clarify definitions and consider the undue burdens its public access and data sharing requirements would place on researchers and institutions. The letter also asked NSF to consider identifying institutional repositories as appropriate for archiving research data and to ensure that the agency includes sufficient funds within research grants to enable researchers and their institutions to meet the costs of complying with public access requirements. “Public access to federally funded research is crucial for rigorous science, discovery, and reproducibility, and research universities are committed to sharing the results of their research whenever appropriate,” the associations noted.

 

Stanford Hosts National Science, Technology, and Security Roundtable

This week, Stanford University hosted the 12th meeting of NASEM’s National Science, Technology, and Security Roundtable, which focuses on issues related to research security, international collaboration, and open science. The roundtable featured remarks from former secretary of state and Hoover Institution Director Condoleezza Rice and Stanford University President Richard Saller. Rice focused her remarks on U.S.-China relations and the risks of academic partnerships with China. The meeting’s agenda is available here.

At the meeting, the roundtable co-chairs noted that they plan to meet once more on March 7 at Texas A&M University and to then release a summary report of all 13 meetings of the roundtable by the end of this year.

 

Biden Administration Announces Additional $4.9 billion in Student Debt Relief

Last week, the Biden administration announced an additional $4.9 billion in student loan debt relief for 73,600 borrowers.

The relief plan designates $1.7 billion for 29,700 borrowers through income-driven repayment plans and $3.2 billion to 43,900 borrowers through the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program. The cumulative loan forgiveness approved by the administration now stands at $136.6 billion.

 

Job Announcements

Just a reminder that you can now submit job announcements for inclusion in the CFR Update using this form: http://aau.cfr-job-postings.alchemer.com/s3/.

 

Upcoming Events

JANUARY 30 CFR HIGHER EDUCATION TASK FORCE VIRTUAL MEETING; 3:00 p.m. ET; register here.

JANUARY 31 CFR BIOMEDICAL TASK FORCE VIRTUAL MEETING; 1:00-2:00 p.m. ET; register here.

FEBRUARY 7 CFR INNOVATION TASK FORCE VIRTUAL MEETING; 2:00-3:00 p.m. ET; register here.

FEBRUARY 13 CFR VIRTUAL MEETING; 1:30 – 4:00 p.m. ET; register here; agenda forthcoming.

CFR EVENT CALENDAR: Information about CFR events, including task force meetings and monthly meeting dates, can be found here.  

 

ICYMI

AAU President’s Report, January 23, 2024 (login required)

Leading Research Universities Report, January 22, 2024