To avoid a government shutdown, the Senate recently passed a Continuing Resolution (CR) to fund the federal government through March 11. The House of Representatives passed their CR last week, and President Biden is expected to sign the CR into law. This is the third CR that has funded the federal government since Fiscal Year 2022 began on October 1, 2021, so Congress has given itself three more weeks to pass FY 2022 appropriations legislation.
Following President Biden’s State of the Union Address on March 1, the Administration is expected to release its fiscal year 2023 Budget Request. CGS will keep members apprised of the latest updates on FY 2022 appropriations and the FY 2023 budget request.
America COMPETES Act Includes Provisions from the College Transparency Act
On February 4, the America COMPETES Act of 2022 (H.R. 4521) passed the House of Representatives by a vote of 222-210. As mentioned in previous Washington Insights & Highlights Newsletters, this bill calls for significant federal investments in higher education and research. Specifically, this bill authorizes increased funding for the National Science Foundation, NASA, and other federal research agencies. In addition to provisions concerning graduate research and education programs, the bill also includes important provisions on broadening participation in the STEM disciplines, as well as mentorships for both undergraduate and graduate students.
During floor consideration of the bill, House Members considered 250 amendments. A bipartisan amendment offered by Representatives Andy Levin (D-MI) and Anthony Gonzalez (R-OH), which called for the inclusion of the College Transparency Act into the COMPETES Act, passed by a vote of 238-193. A recent Inside Higher Education article, “House Approves College Transparency Act,” says the following: “Under the College Transparency Act, colleges would be required to collect and submit data to the Department of Education regarding student enrollment, persistence, transfer and completion measures for all programs and degree levels. The data would also be disaggregated by demographics, including race and ethnicity, gender, and age. The bill would permit the Department of Education to periodically share limited data with other federal agencies, like the Internal Revenue Service and the Social Security Administration, to calculate postgraduate outcomes, such as income and career prospects.”
The House and Senate have yet to begin a conference committee negotiation for the House-passed America COMPETES Act and the Senate-passed United States Innovation and Competition Act (USCIA). CGS staff are closely monitoring legislative action on the bill and working with other higher education associations and the external stakeholder community.
The Department of Energy Science for the Future Act
On February 17, a bipartisan group of senators introduced the Department of Energy Science for the Future Act. “This bipartisan bill would provide the first-ever comprehensive authorization for the Department of Energy’s Office of Science, totaling $50 billion over five years. The Office of Science accounts for over half of DOE’s non-defense research and development budget and is the nation’s largest supporter of research in the physical sciences.” Given the significant investments DOE-Office of Science makes to graduate research fellowships and traineeships, this legislation is both timely and important to the graduate education community. For more information about the bill, here is a summary and bill text.
Comment Request on the International Research Fellowship Award Program of the National Institute on Drug Abuse
The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) is seeking public comments on their International Research Fellowship program. The program offers grants and traineeships for growing the biomedical researcher workforce and the diversity of the workforce. NIDA is requesting approval from OMB for application forms to be used by these programs that will recruit pre-college through post-doctoral underrepresented individuals and individuals of special populations into the research programs of NIDA for:
- research training and research development
- forging mentor/mentee relationships and networking between newly funded underrepresented researchers and experienced investigators funded by NIDA; and
- a fellowship program to train new researchers, and support experienced researchers of other nations, in research to advance the biomedical and behavioral science of drug abuse and addiction while fostering multinational research.
Higher Education Organizations Call on Congressional Leadership to Address Threats to HBCUs
On February 14, CGS and other higher education organizations sent a letter to Congressional leadership requesting they take immediate action to support and protect Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) following the bomb threats made against HBCUs around the country. The letter states, “These acts of terror deliberately strike at institutions that have a unique significance to Black Americans and to American higher education. HBCUs are targeted precisely because they serve as powerful symbols of Black Americans’ strength and achievement.” As our country becomes more diverse, graduate schools must be committed and prepared to recruit, educate, and support the advancement of students who are representative of the nation’s population.