DC Digest - September 30, 2011
In Today's Issue:
- Duke Alum General Martin Dempsey (G '84) Sworn-In As New Military Chief
- Congress Approves Week-Long FY12 Continuing Resolution
- House Appropriations Committee Releases Draft FY12 Labor-HHS-Education Bill
- TARP Official To Speak on Campus October 3
- Duke to Host Entrepreneurship and Innovation Briefing in DC on Oct 5
- WSJ Editorial: Washington's Quietest Disaster
- Advanced Manufacturing Partnership Website is Now Live
- Study Shows Added Costs of ARRA Reporting
- Student Aid Advisory Committee Releases Preliminary Results on Regulatory Burden
DUKE ALUM GENERAL MARTIN DEMPSEY (G '84) SWORN IN ON FRIDAY AS NEW MILITARY CHIEF
The Obama administration welcomed Army Gen. Martin Dempsey as the new chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Friday and said farewell to Navy Adm. Mike Mullen, whose final day as the top American military officer was punctuated by the killing of a key al-Qaeda figure.
After his swearing-in, Dempsey delivered brief remarks pledging that on his watch the military will remain strong, despite the pressure of budget cuts.
"We'll change and we'll be challenged," he said. "But when I complete my tenure as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff I intend to be able to say exactly the same thing: we will be the joint force the nation needs us to be, so help me God."
Gen. Martin Dempsey Picked as New Military Chief (USAToday)
Dempsey Vows to Maintain, Strengthen U.S. Military (defense.gov)
CONGRESS APPROVES WEEK-LONG FY12 CONTINUING RESOLUTION
The House averted a government shutdown yesterday when it approved by unanimous consent a week-long FY12 continuing resolution (CR) to keep the federal government running through next Tuesday, October 4. Before the short-term measure expires, the chamber is expected to take up the longer CR that lasts through November 18. Members of Congress have been out of town this week for the Jewish holiday.
Both CRs were approved by the Senate on September 26, after House and Senate leaders reached a two-step deal to resolve the impasse over how to treat emergency disaster spending. The CRs are needed because Congress has not approved the appropriations bills for the fiscal year which begins tomorrow, October 1.
The new version of the CR eliminates the $1 billion in FY11 disaster assistance and the $1.6 billion in spending offsets from energy-related programs that were included in the original House-passed bill. The new version includes the House bill’s $2.65 billion for FY12 emergency disaster assistance, without offsets. Additional emergency disaster assistance could be added later in the year, also without offsets, because the Budget Control Act that was agreed to in August provides for up to $11.3 billion in additional emergency disaster relief aid in FY12.
See link below for panelist and RSVP information.
HOUSE APPROPRIATIONS COMMITTEE RELEASES DRAFT FY12 LABOR-HHS-EDUCATION BILL
House Republicans yesterday released a draft FY12 Labor-HHS-Education appropriations bill that provides total funding of $153.4 billion, which CQ Today reports is $4 billion less than the FY11 level and the same as in the Senate FY12 bill. The House bill, however, would allocate funding quite differently from the Senate measure, setting up what the publication calls “a policy battleground with Senate Democrats this fall.” No date has been announced for a subcommittee markup of the bill.
In general, the bill would increase funding for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and maintain the Pell Grant maximum award of $5,550 by tightening student eligibility.
As described in the committee press release, the House bill would fund NIH at $31.7 billion, which is an increase of $1 billion, or 3.3 percent, over the FY11 level, and the same as the President’s request. The bill approved by the Senate Appropriations Committee would fund NIH at $30.5 billion, a reduction of $190 million from FY11.
Unlike the Senate bill, the House draft provides no funding for NIH’s new National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences and continues funding for the National Center for Research Resources, which the Administration and the Senate measure would eliminate. The Ad Hoc Group for Medical Research notes that the House draft contains no funding for the Cures Acceleration Network (which the Senate bill would fund at $20 million), but instead provides up to $10 million to the NIH Director’s Discretionary fund, “some of which can be used to establish a Cures Acceleration Board tasked with providing recommendations for future CAN funding.”
Like the Senate bill, the House draft would preserve the $5,550 maximum award for the Pell Grant program, but it would do so by modifying Pell Grant eligibility. The Senate measure would instead eliminate the interest subsidy on undergraduate student loans during the six-month grace period before repayment begins. The House draft would eliminate from Pell eligibility students who attend college less than half-time or have not earned a high school diploma or GED, and would limit lifetime eligibility for a Pell Grant to six years, down from nine years. The committee report says the measure also would roll back “recent and unnecessary changes to the qualification formula,” which include rollbacks in the Income Protection Allowance, the minimum grant level, the definition of zero expected family contribution, and the definition of untaxed income. These changes would take effect on July 1, 2012.
As in the Senate bill, the following programs would be level-funded: Supplemental Education Opportunity Grants, Federal Work Study, TRIO, GEAR UP, Teacher Quality Partnerships, and Graduate Assistance in Area of National Need. Unlike the Senate bill, the House draft would zero out funding for Javits graduate fellowships. The House draft also would flat-fund Title VI domestic programs, but it would eliminate funding for overseas programs and the Institute for International Public Policy.
The Institute of Education Sciences would receive an increase for regional education labs; otherwise the components are flat-funded.
The House draft would prevent the Department of Education from using any funds to implement, administer, or enforce its final regulations on state authorization and credit hour, as well as the regulations on the gainful employment-new programs (published on October 29, 2010), and final regulations on gainful employment (published on June 13, 2011). The measure also would prevent the Department from promulgating or enforcing ANY new regulation or rule with respect to gainful employment on or after the date of enactment.
Appropriations Committee Releases the Draft Fiscal Year 2012 Labor, Health and Human Services Funding Bill (appropriations.house.gov)
Republicans Push Pell Changes (Inside Higher Ed)
U.S. TREASURY OFFICIAL TO SPEAK ABOUT TARP ON OCT 3 AT DUKE
Timothy G. Massad, the U.S. Department of the Treasury's assistant secretary for financial stability, will address the state of the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) on Oct. 3 at Duke University's Fuqua School of Business.
Massad, who is in charge of TARP, will speak about the government's response to the 2008 financial crisis on the three-year anniversary of the law that created TARP. In his address, Massad will discuss how close America came to a second Great Depression and how the nation avoided that fate through swift and bold action. He will also discuss where TARP stands today and what actions the Obama Administration is taking to address the underlying causes of the crisis. Finally, he will discuss the current challenges we face in restoring economic growth, and outline the Administration's actions to promote economic recovery.
The presentation, free and open to the public, will run from 5:15 - 6:15 p.m. at Fuqua's Geneen Auditorium.
U.S. Treasury Official to Speak about State of TARP (fuqua.duke.edu)
DUKE UNIVERSITY TO HOST ENTREPRENEURSHIP AND INNOVATION BRIEFING ON OCTOBER 5
In the 1950’s, North Carolina's economy ranked near the bottom nationally due to the decline of its traditional industries. Building upon the synergies between the three local research universities, public sector and private industry, the Research Triangle Park transformed the region into a vibrant, knowledge-based economy. Please join university and business leaders from the Research Triangle region of North Carolina as they discuss how innovation and entrepreneurship continue to drive economic development and job creation.
The Research Triangle of North Carolina: The Innovation Ecosystem and Economic Development
October 5, 2011
12:00 – 1:00 pm
Location: SVC 201-00
Innovation and Entrepreneurship Flyer (duke.edu)
WSJ EDITORIAL: WASHINGTON'S QUIETEST DISASTER
To preserve Team Obama's priority of maintaining a maximum Pell grant of $5,550 per year and doubling the total annual funding to $36 billion since President Obama took office, Democrats recently decided to make student-loan borrowers pay interest on their loans for their first six months out of college. Washington used to give the youngsters an interest-free grace period. Taxpayers might cheer this change if the money wasn't simply being transferred to another form of education subsidy. But it seems almost certain to raise default rates as it puts recent grads under increased financial pressure.
Washington's Quietest Disaster (WSJ.com - subscription required)
ADVANCED MANUFACTURING PARTNERSHIP WEBSITE IS NOW LIVE
The website for the Obama Administration’s Advanced Manufacturing Partnership (AMP) is now live. President Obama announced the AMP last June at Carnegie Mellon University as a national effort to bring together industry, universities, and the federal government to invest in emerging technologies that could create high-quality manufacturing jobs and improve the nation’s global competitiveness. The Partnership is led by Andrew Liveris, Chairman, President, and CEO of Dow Chemical, and Susan Hockfield, President of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
The Georgia Institute of Technology has set up a website for the first AMP regional meeting, which the campus is hosting on October 14. This meeting is open to the public, and university representatives in the area are encouraged to attend.
Advanced Manufacturing Partnership Website (energy.gov)
President Obama's July 2011 Announcement of AMP Launch (whitehouse.gov)
STUDY SHOWS ADDED COSTS OF ARRA REPORTING
The Federal Demonstration Partnership (FDP) has released an executive summary of its survey of the administrative impact of reporting requirements for the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), which shows that additional costs for survey respondents averaged nearly $8,000 per award. Under ARRA regulations, colleges and universities are not allowed to seek government reimbursement for these added costs.
The FDP survey found that for the 100 institutions responding, additional administrative costs averaged $7,973 per grant, with about one-third of the institutions adding administrative staff to assist with the added reporting and compliance requirements. Those institutions that increased staff added an average of three to 3.3 full-time employees. The full report will be published in October, 2011.
Part of the significance of the FDP survey findings is that the Digital Accountability and Transparency Act of 2011 (H.R. 2146), introduced by Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA), would extend most of the ARRA reporting requirements—with the most notable exception of the ARRA job reporting requirements—to non-ARRA federal research grants and contracts. The bill would not require federal agencies to eliminate and replace other similar reporting requirements they already impose. AAU, APLU, and the Council on Governmental Relations wrote to Rep. Issa on September 15 to voice concerns about the bill.
The Federal Demonstration Partnership is a group of federal agencies, academic research institutions with administrative, faculty and technical representation, and research policy organizations that work to streamline the administration of federally sponsored research. The FDP is convened by the Government, University, Industry Research Roundtable of the National Academies.
FDP ARRA Administrative Impact Survey Report - Executive Summary (pdf)
Federal Demonstration Partnership (nationalacademies.org)
STUDENT AID ADVISORY COMMITTEE RELEASES PRELIMINARY RESULTS ON REGULATORY BURDEN
The Advisory Committee on Student Financial Assistance yesterday released preliminary findings from its review and analysis of regulations affecting higher education, as mandated by the Higher Education Opportunity Act of 2008. Among the committee’s many findings: a large majority of survey respondents perceive HEA regulations as burdensome or overly burdensome; and a majority of respondents rank HEA regulations among the most burdensome of all types of regulation.
The Committee has concluded that although a good number of burdensome regulations have been identified, the study likely needs to be refocused in order to “gather more quantifiable data on the level of burden for each of the regulations, determine a way to prioritize the recommendations, and recognize the ways in which the suggested regulations impact different sectors of higher education in different ways.”
The Advisory Committee held a hearing today to discuss the report findings and hear from campus officials on related issues, and will conduct several additional follow-up activities. The panel plans to deliver its final report to Congress and the Secretary of Education later this year.
Advisory Committee on Student Financial Assistance (ed.gov)
Higher Education Regulation Study - Preliminary Findings (ed.gov)