DC Digest - June 25, 2012
In Today's Issue:
- AAU and COGR Oppose Economic Secrecy Proposal for Patents
- Treasury-Ed Report Makes the Economic Case for Higher Ed
- Senate Approves Farm Bill with Provision Requiring Sequester Impact Reports
- Associations Respond to Executive Order on Principles for Serving Service Members
- Senate Education Funding Bill Supports Pell Max, Hints at HEA Reauthorization
- Senate Subcommittee Nearly Solves the 2014 Pell Grant Funding Cliff
- Siedow to Testify on NRC Report on Research Universities
- Chameides Testifies on EPA Greenhouse Gas Regulations
AAU AND COGR OPPOSE ECONOMIC SECRECY PROPOSAL FOR PATENTS
AAU and the Council on Governmental Relations (COGR) have submitted a letter to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) that expresses opposition to a proposal for placing economically significant patents under secrecy orders. The USPTO published the proposal in the Federal Register for public comment in response to a directive to study the issues surrounding economically significant patents contained in the committee report on the FY12 Commerce-Justice-Science appropriations bill.
In responding to the notice on June 19, the two associations noted that the proposed approach would have the federal government “identify and bar from publication and issuance certain patent applications as detrimental to the nation’s economic security.” This “would undermine the patent system,” they said.
Broadening patent secrecy orders from national security—where they are used only in limited circumstances—to economic significance “would deprive U.S. inventors and innovators of new technical information vital to U.S. economic progress and competitiveness in today’s knowledge economy,” said the letter. “We also believe that the concept of determining what patent applications might be detrimental to U.S. economic security is fraught with problems. Typically only in hindsight is the economic significance of new innovations clear.”
AAU-COGR Letter Opposing Patent Secrecy Proposal (pdf)
Notice of Request for Comments on Feasibility of Placing Economically Signigicant Patents (federalregister.gov)
TREASURY-ED REPORT MAKES ECONOMIC CASE FOR HIGHER ED
A new report released last week by the U.S. Department of the Treasury, with the U.S. Department of Education, examines the economic case for higher education.
The data and analysis confirm that higher education is critical for socioeconomic advancement and an important driver of economic mobility. See below release for report highlights.
New Report from Treasury, Education Departments: The Economic Case for Higher Education (treasury.gov)
SENATE APPROVES FARM BILL WITH PROVISION REQUQIRING SEQUESTER IMPACT REPORTS
The Senate has approved an amendment to the farm bill (S. 3240) that would require the Administration to provide detailed reports on the potential impact of a budget sequester on defense and non-defense discretionary spending. The bipartisan amendment resulted from an agreement between Senators Patty Murray (D-WA) and John McCain (R-AZ). CQ.com reports that the provision would require three reports: one from the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) on the topline budget numbers under a sequester; a second from the Department of Defense on the defense impact, and a third from President Obama on how he would implement a sequester and what the effects would be, including on non-defense areas.
Last year’s Budget Control Act required that if Congress was unable to find $1.2 trillion in additional savings over 10 years by last December, an across-the-board sequester would be implemented on January 2, 2013, split evenly between defense discretionary spending and non-defense discretionary and certain mandatory spending. CQ.com reports that OMB has been reluctant to offer details on implementation of a potential sequester, but officials have said that it would apply to both war funding and the base defense budget.
McCain-Murray Amendment Calls for Study of Impact of Sequester (McCain.senate.gov)
ASSOCIATIONS RESPOND TO EXECUTIVE ORDER ON PRINCIPLES FOR SERVING SERVICE MEMBERS
Under the leadership of the American Council on Education and the National Association of College and University Business Officers (NACUBO), a group of higher education associations, including AAU, has submitted detailed comments on an executive order that lays out “principles of excellence” for higher education institutions that educate service members, veterans, and their family members.
The comment letter expresses the associations’ “strong belief in the fundamental tenets” of the principles, but asks the federal agencies that will implement them to provide greater clarity on how they plan to do so and what colleges and universities would be committing to by notifying the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) of their intention to comply with the principles. The VA sent institutions a letter on May 31 asking them to provide notification of their intention to comply by Saturday, June 30.
ACE-NACUBO Letter (pdf)
VA Urged to Provide More Clarity in Principles of Excellence Request (NAICU)
SENATE EDUCATION FUNDING BILL SUPPORTS PELL MAX, HINTS AT HEA REAUTHORIZATION
As reported in last week's DC Digest, the Senate Appropriations Committee approved its 2013 fiscal year education funding bill (which covers the 2013-14 academic year) on June 14. See the NAICU Washington Update (link below) for additional detail and analysis.
Senate Education Funding Bill Supports Pell Max, Hints at HEA Reauthorization (NAICU.edu)
SENATE SUBCOMMITEE NEARLY SOLVES THE 2014 PELL GRANT FUNDING CLIFF
Last week a Senate committee passed an appropriations bill to fund nearly all federal education programs for fiscal year 2013, which starts October 1, 2012. That isn’t big news because the details of a final bill that would be viable in both the House and Senate are contingent on some major roadblocks: It’s an election year; the Labor, Health & Human Services, and Education Appropriations bill is the most contentious funding bill; automatic, across-the-board spending cuts loom in January; and so on. The bill is even less newsworthy because the Pell Grant program is temporarily on sound financial footing and no year-end funding crisis is in play as in past years. That’s why many might miss that the Senate bill solves next year’s Pell Grant funding crisis—well, just about.
Senate Subcommittee Nearly Solves the 2014 Pell Grant Funding Cliff (newamerica.net)
SIEDOW TO TESTIFY ON NRC REPORT ON RESEARCH UNIVERSITIES
Vice Provost for Research Jim Siedow will be a panelist on an upcoming House Research and Science Subcommittee hearing on the National Research Council's recent report on research universities. The hearing, "The Role of Research Universities in Securing America’s Future Prosperity: Challenges and Expectations" will take place on Wednesday, June 27 at 10am in 2318 Rayburn House Office Building. The hearing will be webcast live at the link below.
Hearing Webcast (science.house.gov)
NRC Report: Research Universities and the Future of America (nationalacademies.org)
CHAMEIDES TESTIFIES ON EPA GREENHOUSE GAS REGULATIONS
William L. Chameides, Dean of Duke University’s Nicholas School of the Environment, was among 11 witnesses who testified on June 19 at a U.S. House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Energy and Power hearing on proposed new source performance standards issued by the EPA under the Clean Air Act to regulate greenhouse gas emissions from power plants.
The hearing, "A Focus on EPA's Greenhouse Gas Regulations," is part of the House Republicans' broader energy plan, dubbed the American Energy Initiative.
An atmospheric scientist by training, Chameides is widely cited for his expertise on the causes of, and remedies for, global, regional and urban-scale environmental change.
Chameides Testifies on EPA Greenhouse Gas Regulations (nicholas.duke.edu)
Testimony: America's Climate Choices (energycommerce.house.gov)