Washington Insights & Highlights
January 18, 2019
Congressional Update

CGS Welcomes 116th Congress

On Tuesday, January 15, CGS sent letters to all members of the House and Senate welcoming them to the 116th Congress. The letters introduce CGS to new and returning Members, highlight our principles around policies of importance to graduate education, and urge policymakers to consider us a resource when these issues arise. As a non-partisan organization, CGS is committed to working with lawmakers on both sides of the aisle in leveraging opportunities to advance our work.

Government Shutdown Continues

The partial government shutdown is entering its fifth week, which makes it the longest shutdown in history. Federal agencies that fund science and research, including the National Science Foundation, continue to suspend certain activities.

For the third week in a row, the House has voted on legislation that would re-open the entire government, as well as passing two more bills providing temporary funding. One continuing resolution (CR) would fund the government through February 8, while another CR would last through February 28. The House also passed a $14 billion supplemental package that provides an additional $165 million in aid to schools and colleges impacted by a range of natural disasters in 2018. Next week, the House is set to vote on a six-bill omnibus package for FY 2019, excluding the Homeland Security measures, which were agreed upon by House and Senate conferees last fall. The Senate still does not plan to consider any funding legislation that does not have the President’s support.

A group of House Democrats are also asking the Department of Education to provide information to federal employees who have student loans on how to manage their debt during the partial government shutdown. Last week, the department issued guidance on managing student loans for furloughed workers, which includes postponing payments through deferment or forbearance or enrolling in income-based repayment programs.

House Committee Memberships Filling Out

The House of Representatives continues to fill out its committee rosters. This week, Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) announced 14 new Democrats who will serve on the Education and Labor Committee as well as nine new members of the Judiciary Committee. Additionally, the Ways and Means Committee released full subcommittee assignments for Democrats and Republicans.

Hearing on EPA Administrator Nomination

On Wednesday, January 16, the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee held a hearing on Andrew Wheeler’s nomination to serve as Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). He currently serves as Acting Administrator. Although science and research issues were not a large part of the discussion, members of the panel did mention the proposal issued last year that would restrict the publication of research that does not publicly disclose all data. Wheeler is expected to be confirmed.

Contact Us
Lauren Inouye
Vice President for Public Policy and Government Affairs
Kenneth Polishchuk
Senior Manager of Public Policy and Government Affairs
Council of Graduate Schools
One Dupont Circle NW, Suite 230
Washington, DC  20036