DC Digest - November 9, 2012
In Today's Issue:
- What the 2012 Election Means for Duke
- President Wins Second Term, Mentions Education and Research in Acceptance Speech
- House and Senate Control Remains the Same; Lawmakers Gear Up for Lame Duck Session
- Department of Ed: Who's In Charge?
- How Candidates with Ties to Higher Ed Fared in the Election
WHAT THE 2012 ELECTION MEANS FOR DUKE
Below are some highlights of the federal election results and how they may impact the university:
- President Obama will continue to be a vocal supporter of student aid and research as he moves into his second term. Given the fiscal constraints of the federal budget, some funding decreases at the research agencies and the Department of Education are more than likely. However, the full brunt of these reductions will not be known for months.
- There will not be any significant changes within congressional leadership or among the chairs and ranking members of committees with jurisdiction over the primary issues that Duke follows: research, education, tax and immigration.
- Over half of the North Carolina delegation will return to the House in January but the overall composition will look very different. New members include Republicans Richard Hudson, Robert Pittenger, George Holding and Mark Meadows. The contest between incumbent Mike McIntyre (D-NC) and David Rouzer is still awaiting absentee and provisional ballots and won’t be decided for a few days. The shift in the party make-up of the NC delegation could — emphasis on the could -- be helpful to the state and the region since we now have more members in the majority party.
- David Price (D-NC) was handily reelected to his seat, which no longer includes the Duke campus. Duke now resides in the 1st Congressional District, represented by Congressman G.K. Butterfield (D-NC).
- At least five Duke alumni will be in the 113th Congress. In the House, alumni include returning members of Congress Shelley Moore Capito T’75 (R-WV), Dan Lipinski G’98 (D-IL), Nick Rahall T’71 (D-WV), and Mo Brooks T’75 (R-AL). Senator Rand Paul M‘88 (R-KY) will be the sole Duke alumnus in the United States Senate. Scott Peters T’80 from the 52nd congressional district of California is currently leading in votes to unseat Representative Brian Bilbray (R-CA), but the race is still too close to call.
PRESIDENT WINS SECOND TERM, MENTIONS EDUCATION AND RESEARCH IN ACCEPTANCE SPEECH
In what has turned out to be a status quo election, President Barack Obama this week was re-elected to a second term in office, while Democrats held onto control of the Senate and Republicans retained control of the House.
The President indicated in his acceptance speech last night that research and education would continue to be among his priorities. He said:
“…But despite all our differences, most of us share certain hopes for America's future. We want our kids to grow up in a country where they have access to the best schools and the best teachers, a country that lives up to its legacy as the global leader in technology and discovery and innovation, with all the good jobs and new businesses that follow.
“…We believe in a generous America, in a compassionate America, in a tolerant America, open to the dreams of an immigrant's daughter who studies in our schools and pledges to our flag. To the young boy on the south side of Chicago who sees a life beyond the nearest street corner. To the furniture worker's child in North Carolina who wants to become a doctor or a scientist, an engineer or an entrepreneur, a diplomat or even a president – that's the future we hope for. That's the vision we share. That's where we need to go – forward…”
HOUSE AND SENATE CONTROL REMAINS THE SAME; LAWMAKERS GEAR UP FOR LAME DUCK SESSION
With the election concluded, policymakers are now gearing up for the post-election, lame duck congressional session which begins next Tuesday, November 13. At the top of a lengthy to-do list will be finding a way to avoid the end-of-year “fiscal cliff” of large, automatic across-the-board cuts in defense and nondefense spending—“the sequester”—and expiring tax benefits.
The broader higher education community has called on the President and congressional leaders to forge a major, balanced long-term deficit-reduction agreement and avoid the sequester. Last month, the Task Force on American Innovation, in which Duke participates via membership in AAU, urged Washington leaders to reach such an agreement and to continue to prioritize spending on science and technology. In July, more than 150 university leaders, including President Brodhead, sent a letter to policymakers calling for a major, balanced budget deal that also preserves the ability to sustain national investments in such areas as education and scientific research.
DEPARTMENT OF ED: WHO'S IN CHARGE?
President Obama’s victory Tuesday night made a few things clear about the future of federal higher education policy, including that the Education Department will continue to play an active role in regulating and attempting to influence colleges and universities. A key question remains: Who will be in charge (especially behind the scenes) as those policies are made?
Before the election, Education Secretary Arne Duncan said he would stay in the post for the president’s second term, and it’s all but certain that he will stay on. Under Secretary Martha Kanter, who oversees higher education and is the public face of many of the department's initiatives, is said to be likely to stay on as well.
But observers say the department has suffered in the past year from the departures of key policy staffers and political appointees, and that it’s unclear whose vision is shaping policy now -- and whose will do so as the president pursues his agenda in his second term.
Who's in Charge? (Inside Higher Ed)
HOW CANDIDATES WITH TIES TO HIGHER EDUCATION FARED IN THE ELECTION
President Obama was re-elected on Tuesday night, and he will also retain the distinction of being the highest-elected academic in the country. Mr. Obama taught constitutional law at the University of Chicago Law School for more than a decade before being elected to the U.S. Senate, in 2004.
Aside from Mr. Obama, in Congressional and state races across the country, a handful of candidates with connections to higher education were on the ballot, and several of them won. Read more for the results of some of those races.
How Candidates With Ties to Higher Education Fared in the Election (Chronicle of Higher Ed)