DC Digest - February 28, 2011
In Today's Issue:
- President Brodhead Writes to NC Senators to Express Concern Over H.R.
- House and Senate Negotiate Short-Term Extension of FY11 Funding
- Associations and Universities Comment on SEC Proposed Municipal Advisor Rule
- CRS Report Details Causes, Process, Effects of a Government Shutdown
- Deputy Secretary of State to Deliver Von der Heyden Lecture Feb 28
- Associations Urge U.S. to Withdraw Rule on Credit Hour
- The Continuing Resolution Devastates College Opportunities for Young People
- House-Passed Spending Bill Would Trigger Future Cuts in Pell Program
- Obama's Budget, Though Generous, Still Signals Austerity for Colleges
- Spending Freely on Research, Canada Reverses Brain Drain
PRESIDENT BRODHEAD WRITES TO NC SENATORS TO EXPRESS CONCERN OVER H.R. 1
President Brodhead sent letters to North Carolina Senators Richard Burr and Kay Hagan this week to express concern with the House-passed Continuing Resolution, H.R. 1, and to urge their support in maintaining FY10 funding levels for key research and education programs. In the letter President Brodhead says that H.R. 1 "seeks to reduce the deficit through counterintuitive cuts to many of the research and education programs that help drive our economy."
Letter to Senator Richard Burr on HR 1 (Duke Federal Relations) Note: an identical letter was sent to Senator Kay Hagan.
HOUSE AND SENATE NEGOTIATE SHORT-TERM EXTENSION OF FY11 FUNDING
With the current FY11 continuing resolution (CR) set to run out on March 4, House Republicans leaders introduced on Friday a short-term CR that would fund government programs for two weeks at their current levels—which are generally frozen at FY10 levels—minus $4 billion. The cuts in the two-week spending bill are proportional to those in the long-term CR that the House passed last week, which would cut $61 billion over the remaining seven months of FY11.
The CR contains funding to allow all government agencies and programs to continue operating at the current level of spending for the next two weeks, until March 18, 2011, except for several programs that will be terminated or cut.
Continuing Resolution Unveiled Today Will Continue Government Operations, Cut Spending (Appropriations.house.gov)
ASSOCIATIONS AND UNIVERSITIES COMMENT ON SEC PROPOSED MUNICIPAL ADVISOR RULE
A group of Higher Education associations and a group of universities (including Duke) each sent letters to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) on February 22 providing detailed comments on a proposed rule on SEC registration of municipal advisors.
The letters express concern that the proposed rule’s broad definition of “municipal advisor” could be interpreted to require employees and governing board members of many colleges and universities and their affiliated organizations to register with the Commission. The associations urge the Commission to exclude such individuals from the definition.
The letters note that the proposed rule would overturn established federal policy under which SEC registration requirements cover firms and persons that are in the business of providing investment advice, not trustees and employees who discuss municipal financial issues in the performance of their duties.
The association letter also focuses on the fact that the definition of municipal advisor in the proposed rule specifically excludes elected trustees and employees of public colleges and universities, but does not exclude appointed trustees of public institutions or trustees and employees of private institutions and other affiliated organizations, such as teaching hospitals. The associations conclude that there is no sound reason to regulate trustees and employees of private and public entities under different regulatory regimes.
Universities' Letter to SEC (pdf)
Associations Comment on SEC Proposed Municipal Advisor Rule (pdf)
CRS REPORT DETAILS CAUSES, PROCESSES, EFFECTS OF A GOVERNMENT SHUTDOWN
The Congressional Research Service (CRS) has developed a paper describing the impact of a federal government shutdown if Congress and the President are unable to agree on continued government funding after the current CR expires on March 4. “Shutdown of the Federal Government: Causes, Processes, and Effects,” dated February 18, details the impacts on federal agencies and employees, Congress, and the public, including which services would be exempted.
CRS Report (washingtonpost.com)
DEPUTY SECRETARY OF STATE TO DELIVER VON DER HEYDEN LECTURE FEB 28
Deputy Secretary of State James B. Steinberg will give the Von der Heyden Lecture at Duke University’s Sanford School of Public Policy on Monday, Feb. 28. The event will begin at 5:30 p.m. in Fleishman Commons and is free and open to the public. Parking is available in the Science Drive visitor’s lot. Deputy Steinberg's lecture will also be broadcast live via Duke's U-stream channel, http://www.ustream.tv/DukeUniversity.
Steinberg serves as the principal deputy to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Appointed by President Obama, he was confirmed by the Senate in January 2009.
Deputy Secretary of State to Deliver Von der Heyden Lecture Feb 28 (DukeNews)
ASSOCIATIONS URGE U.S. TO WITHDRAW RULE ON CREDIT HOUR
A broad coalition of higher education associations, expressing "grave" concerns, has urged Education Secretary Arne Duncan to withdraw a federal regulation that would, for the first time, create a federal definition of "credit hour" that the groups argue "federalized a basic academic concept and, at the same time, developed a complex, ambiguous and unworkable definition." The letter, signed by the president of the American Council on Education, Molly Corbett Broad, on behalf of more than 70 college associations and accrediting groups, says that the Education Department has ignored concerns that the groups expressed at various stages of the regulatory process, and that incorporating a definition of the credit hour in the federal regulatory code will "allow the Department of Education [through its accreditation advisory committee] to micro-manage campus academic programs." -from Inside Higher Ed
Letter to Secretary Duncan Urging Credit Hour Rule Withdrawal (ACEnet.edu)
THE CONTINUING RESOLUTION DEVASTATES COLLEGE OPPORTUNITIES FOR YOUNG PEOPLE
From a Huffington Post opinion piece:
Challenging times such as these present decision-makers with opportunities to either deeply assess the problems within our society and craft public policies to alleviate them or to shallowly continue the status quo beefed up with soaring but empty rhetoric. On Friday, February 18, the House of Representatives was faced with one of those moments and chose the latter. By a vote of 235-189, the House passed HR 1, the continuing resolution, which cuts $11 billion, or 16 percent, from the Department of Education. If a budget is truly a document of priorities, it is clear that the 112th House of Representatives does not value
The Continuing Resolution Devestates College Opportunities for Young People (Huffington Post)
HOUSE-PASSED SPENDING BILL WOULD TRIGGER FUTURE CUTS IN PELL PROGRAM
The spending bill for the 2011 fiscal year that the U.S. House of Representatives passed last week would not only slash Pell Grants in the short term - it would also reduce spending on the program by $64-billion over the next decade, according to the Congressional Budget Office. That's because the cuts contained in the legislation would trigger a provision in last year's student-loan-overhaul law that conditions additional support for the program on Congress's maintaining a "base" maximum award of $4,860.
House-Passed Spending Bill Would Trigger Future Cuts in Pell Program (Chronicle of Higher Ed)
OBAMA'S BUDGET, THOUGH GENEROUS, STILL SIGNALS AUSTERITY FOR COLLEGES
In the fiscal 2012 budget that Mr. Obama announced last week, President Obama proposed maintaining the maximum value of a Pell Grant even as its use hit record levels, suggested expanding the Perkins Loan program, and scheduled above-inflation increases for university research. Yet Mr. Obama, facing Republican demands to sharply cut all types of government spending as the federal deficit spirals, didn't give colleges everything. He proposed ending the use of Pell Grants during summer sessions, cut support for career and technical education, and called for ending the in-school interest subsidy on graduate student loans.
Obama's Budget, Though Generous, Still Signals Austerity for Colleges (Chronicle of Higher Ed)
SPENDING FREELY ON RESEARCH, CANADA REVERSES BRAIN DRAIN
In the mid-1990s, higher-education officials in Canada warned of the consequences of government cuts in research funds and an exodus of academic talent. Today, amid intensifying global competition for the best and brightest, Canada is on a roll, importing research stars and nurturing young Canadian and foreign scholars and postdoctoral students. What changed' Federal and provincial governments have pumped in unprecedented amounts of cash for people and equipment to spur innovation and build a critical mass of expertise.
Spending Freely on Research, Canada Reverses Brain Drain (Chronicle of Higher Ed)