DC Digest - February 4, 2011
In Today's Issue:
- House Budget and Appropriations Chairs Announce Spending Limits, Cuts for FY 2011
- Representative David Price and Staff Visit Duke for Staff Retreat
- Duke Law Prof Testifies on Health Care Law
- Washington Wrapup: Mixed Signals on Pell
- Dear Colleague: Pell Grant Set at $5,550 for Next Academic Year
- Opinion: Reading List for Congress' Freshmen
- With Federal Budget Cuts Likely, Some Researchers Hold Out Hope
HOUSE BUDGET AND APPROPRIATIONS CHAIRS ANNOUNCE SPENDING LIMITS, CUTS FOR FY 2011
House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI) announced on Thursday broad discretionary spending caps for the remainder of FY11. Specifically, Chairman Ryan's statement declared that the proposed discretionary spending cap for the rest of FY11 would be $1.055 trillion, which is $74 billion below the President’s FY11 budget request and $35 billion below the FY10 level. Overall, it sets non-security discretionary spending level at $420 billion. This is a reduction of $43 billion or 9.3% below the FY 10 level (the current CR level).
Chairman Rogers said that his committee would require “the largest series of spending cuts in history,” adding, “These cuts will go deep and wide, and will hit virtually every agency and every congressional district in this country, including my own.”
Following Chairman Ryan’s announcement, Appropriations Committee Chairman Harold Rogers (R-KY) released a statement and chart showing the spending limits and cuts assigned to each of the 12 House appropriations subcommittees (see easier-to-read chart attached). The proposed reductions are based on the full fiscal year 2011. Because they would be implemented over the less than seven remaining months of the fiscal year, however, the percentage reduction over that period would be considerably larger than they appear in the chart.
House leaders expect to begin consideration of the FY11 spending bill the week of February 14. The current continuing resolution—which is funding most discretionary programs at their FY10 levels—expires on March 4.
OFR is actively engaged in efforts to advocate for research and student aid funding and will continue to share updated information as it becomes available.
Table Outlining Spending Limits and Subcommittee Cuts Announced by Rogers (from AAU)
Chairman Ryan: Washington's Spending Spree is Over (budget.house.gov)
Chairman Rogers Outlines Subcommittee Spending Cuts for Fiscal Year 2011 (appropriations.house.gov)
REPRESENTATIVE DAVID PRICE AND STAFF VISIT DUKE FOR STAFF RETREAT
Congressman David Price and his entire district and DC staff visited Duke and North Carolina Central University on Thursday as part of their annual staff retreat. While meeting with the delegation, President Brodhead strongly advocated for continued investment in federal research and student aid, as well as finding ways to improve current laws and regulations around the issue of immigration and visa programs that impact Duke students and researchers. In addition, there was a robust discussion about the need for continued investment and support for the humanities, social sciences and arts.
After a visit with Lincoln Pratson, director of the Duke University
Energy Hub and of the Nicholas School's Energy & Environment
Program, to discuss Duke’s energy research programs, Mr. Price’s staff
traveled to NCCU for similar meetings with their Chancellor and faculty.
DUKE LAW PROF TESTIFIES ON HEALTH CARE LAW
Senator Dick Durbin convened a hearing on the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act on Wednesday, and Duke Law Professor Walter Dellinger was among five esteemed attorneys invited to testify on the legality of a particular provision of the law, the individual mandate.
A Rare Glimpse of the Legal Debate Over Health Care (Time.com)
Professor Dellinger's Prepared Statement: "The Constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act" (Judiciary.senate.gov)
WASHINGTON WRAPUP: MIXED SIGNALS ON PELL
Senator Dick Durbin on Tuesday spoke to a gathering of independent college presidents about continuing investigations of for-profit colleges and the Pell grant program.
Durbin was not subtle about attributing his concern about for-profit colleges in large part to the role they've played in driving up federal spending on Pell Grants, which have soared from a program worth about $16 billion in 2008 to one approaching $40 billion in 2011. Following Durbin to the podium Tuesday, a Republican Congressional aide warned the college presidents in the room that "things are going to have to be done" to rein in the explosive growth of federal student aid spending. "Don't just come in and say, 'Don't cut Pell, don't cut Pell, don't cut Pell,' " said Amy Jones, who oversees education policy for the House Committee on Education and the Workforce.
Washington Wrapup (InsideHigherEd)
Pell Grants are in Jeopardy, Senator Durbin Says (Chronicle of Higher Ed)
Senator Durbin's Full Remarks at NAICU Meeting (NAICU.edu)
DEAR COLLEAGUE: PELL GRANT SET AT $5,550 FOR NEXT ACADEMIC YEAR
In a "Dear Colleague" letter Thursday, the U.S. Department of Education set the maximum Pell Grant award at $5,550 for the 2011-12 academic year, signaling that the largest grant program for low-income students will be fully funded. It may not seem like much: All the letter affirms is that the maximum federal grant for college students in need will be the same next year as this year. But student aid advocates cheered the news; they had feared Pell funding might decline.
Pell Grant Set at $5,550 for Next Academic Year (Washington Post)
OPINION: READING LIST FOR CONGRESS' FRESHMEN
David Reingold, professor of chemistry at Juniata College, writes: As a long-time college professor, I know a thing or two about the common mistakes freshmen make, and I thought I would take this opportunity to offer some advice to our incoming members of Congress. The Freshman 15: Many freshman legislators will find themselves gorging on pork. Even those who got elected precisely to end the practice may find themselves tempted to bring a little bacon to their home districts. After all, what's a tea party without a little food to go with it'
Come to Order: Reading List for Congress' Freshmen (AltoonaMirror)
WITH BUDGET CUTS LIKELY, SOME RESEARCHERS HOLD OUT HOPE
In his annual State of the Union address on January 25, Mr. Obama endorsed a five-year freeze in domestic spending, saying "painful cuts" will be a necessary response to the country's tough economic condition. Mr. Obama said he'd seek exceptions for areas that include scientific research, calling such work "crucial to America's success." But it's not clear how much success he'll have in getting Congress to follow through. However, the energy-innovation hubs that President Obama mentioned in his address and other research could survive the move toward austerity.
With Budget Cuts Likely, Some Researchers Hold Out Hope (Chronicle of Higher Ed)