DC Digest - September 17, 2010
In Today's Issue:
- Duke Memo Offers Guidance on Political Activities on Campus
- AAU, APLU Urge Strong Funding for Research in FY12
- Education Dept. Gets Record Number of Comments on 'Gainful Employment' Rule
- Key Higher Education Tax Provisions Set to Expire
- Senate Passes Small Business Jobs Act, Includes Cell Phone Provision
- Senators Urge Floor Action on Patent Reform
- Defense Spending Bill Moves to Floor, Includes Immigration Provision
- Appeals Court Sets Hearing on Federal Funds for Stem-Cell Research
- Revised Regulations on ADA
- National Science Board Report Calls for Equity, Excellence and Opportunity in STEM
DUKE MEMO OFFERS GUIDANCE ON POLITICAL ACTIVITIES ON CAMPUS
Vice President for Public Affairs and Government Relations Mike Schoenfeld sent a memo this week to campus leadership in an effort "to summarize and refer you to certain longstanding University policies and guidance as well as Federal and state law regarding, among other things, permissible political activity on campus, visits to campus by Congressional and Federal Executive Branch officials and state officials, earmarks and lobbying."
Memo re Political Activity on Campus
AAU, APLU URGE STRONG FUNDING FOR RESEARCH IN FY12 BUDGET
The presidents of the American Association of Universities (AAU) and the Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities (APLU) sent a letter to Acting Director of the Office of Management and Budget, Jeffrey Zients, urging continued and sustained growth for all federal basic research programs.
"We understand the tremendous pressures on the federal budget and the difficult task OMB faces in developing the Administration’s FY 2012 budget submission. While there is a need to reduce budget deficits, today’s deficits are not a rationale for slashing investments in our future economic growth and security. Since the end of World War II, federal investments in university-based research have paid enormous dividends to our nation and its citizens in the form of job creation, economic growth, higher standards of living, improved health, and enhanced national security."
AAU, APLU Urge Strong Funding for Research in FY12 Budget (AAU.edu)
EDUCATION DEPT. GETS RECORD NUMBER OF COMMENTS ON 'GAINFUL EMPLOYMENT' RULE
During a 60-day public-comment period that ended last week, the department received more than 83,000 comments from opponents and supporters of the proposed rule, which would cut off federal student aid to programs whose students have high debt-to-income ratios and low loan-repayment rates.
The American Council on Education (ACE) and more than 50 higher education and accrediting organizations on Thursday submitted one of these comment letters. The associations' letter praised Secretary Arne Duncan and the department for their efforts to ensure that gainful employment programs benefit students without saddling them with unmanageable debt while protecting taxpayer investment. The comments also expressed concerns about potential unforeseen impacts of the regulations on public and nonprofit institutions.
Education Dept. Gets Record Number of Comments on 'Gainful Employment Rule (Chronicle of Higher Ed)
Higher Ed and Accreditation Organizations Comment on Proposed Gainful Employment Regulations (ACE.net)
Estimating the Effects of Gainful Employment (InsideHigherEd)
KEY HIGHER EDUCATION TAX PROVISIONS SET TO EXPIRE
The American Association of Universities has released a summary of key higher education tax provisions that have already expired or are set to expire if Congress does not pass extensions before the end of 2010. The Office of Federal Relations is engaged on this issue and will keep campus updated as relevant information becomes available.
Key Higher Ed Tax Provisions (AAU.edu)
SENATE PASSES SMALL BUSINESS JOBS ACT, INCLUDES CELL PHONE PROVISION
On a 61-38 vote, the Senate Thursday approved the Small Business Jobs Act (HR 5297), which includes the cell phone provision supported by many Ad Hoc universities. The House is expected to accept the Senate bill next week and send it to the President for his signature.
According to the Senate summary, the cell phone provision, which is estimated to cost $410 million over 10 years, “would ‘delist’ cell phones so their cost can be deducted or depreciated like other business property, without onerous recordkeeping requirements.” Or, as CTIA-The Wireless Association put it, approval of the cell phone provision “means individuals who have a business-provided mobile device are no longer required to record: (1) the amount of such expense or other items; (2) the time and place of the use of the property; (3) the business purpose of the expense; and (4) the business relationship to the taxpayer of the persons using the property.”
Baucus Hails Passage of Small Business Job Creation (Finance.Senate.gov)
SENATORS URGE FLOOR ACTION ON PATENT REFORM
Twenty-five Senators urge Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to make floor time to consider the Managers' Amendment to S. 515, the Patent Reform Act of 2010:
"A well functioning and efficient patent system is critical to American invention and innovation, which are the cornerstones of our economy and job creation...The bipartisan Manager's Amendment to S. 515 released by the Judiciary Committee would speed the patent application process, reducing the three-year wait that inventors must endure before obtaining their patents and securing the funding needed to place new products on the market."
DEFENSE SPENDING BILL GOING TO FLOOR, INCLUDES IMMIGRATION PROVISION
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said he plans a vote in the Senate early next week to add the Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act as an amendment to the Department of Defense FY11 authorization bill. President Obama on Thursday said in a statement that he would support efforts to use the defense spending bill as a vehicle to pass the DREAM Act, which would create a path to citizenship for many college students who have been in the United States for years -- typically brought by their parents at young ages -- without legal documentation to allow them to stay. Many political leaders have argued for keeping the DREAM legislation -- arguably one of the less controversial parts of immigration reform -- in an overall package of changes in immigration laws.
The statement issued by the White House stressed that Obama still supported comprehensive immigration reform but that he was getting behind the idea of moving on DREAM first.
APPEALS COURT SETS HEARING ON FEDERAL FUNDS FOR STEM-CELL RESEARCH
A federal appeals court has scheduled oral arguments for September 24 on whether it should keep blocking an injunction, issued on August 23 by a federal judge, Royce C. Lamberth, that temporarily prevents the government from financing embryonic-stem-cell research. The court announced its plans this morning as Senate Democrats used an Appropriations subcommittee hearing to advance legislation that would eliminate any legal confusion about congressional support for embryonic-stem-cell research. The process of drafting such specific legislative language, however, is proving "difficult and complex," and probably won’t be finished before Congress adjourns its current session at the end of this year, said Anthony J. Mazzaschi, senior director for scientific affairs at the Association of American Medical Colleges. - From the Chronicle of Higher Ed
REVISED REGULATIONS ON ADA
The Justice Department on Wednesday published revised regulations on certain aspects of the Americans With Disabilities Act, dealing with some issues that relate to higher education. More detail is provided on the obligations to make sure that their athletic stadiums are sufficiently accessible to people with physical disabilities, for example, an issue on which some universities and advocates for those with disabilities have clashed in the past.
Revised Regulations on ADA (Inside Higher Ed)
NATIONAL SCIENCE BOARD REPORT CALLS FOR EQUITY, EXCELLENCE AND OPPORTUNITY IN STEM
The National Science Board released on Wednesday a long-awaited report titled “Preparing the Next Generation of STEM Innovators: Identifying and Developing Our Nation’s Human Capital,” which offers both recommendations and policy solutions to help close the widening gap between American and foreign-born talent as well as a research agenda for each item. It focuses on three key areas: providing opportunities for excellence, casting a wide net, and fostering a supportive ecosystem.
National Science Board Report Calls for Equity, Excellence, Opportunity (DiverseEducation.com)
Preparing the Next Generation of STEM Innovators Report (NSF.gov)