Senate Democrats Unveil Remaining FY22 Spending Bills

This week, Senate Democrats released the nine remaining appropriations bills to fund the government for Fiscal Year 2022. The current continuing resolution to fund the government ends on December 3, meaning Congress must pass either all 12 appropriations bills, by that date, or pass another Continuing Resolution to prevent a government shutdown. Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-VT) stated in a press release, “These bills make important investments in our nation’s infrastructure, our environment, and the middle class, including historic increases to promote affordable housing, educate our nation’s children, combat climate change, and improve healthcare. I have previously called for bipartisan, bicameral, negotiations on topline spending for Fiscal Year 2022, and I renew that call today so we can enact all 12 appropriations bills by December 3rd, when the current Continuing Resolution expires.”

The FY 2022 Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education appropriations bill includes provisions that impact graduate education. The bill provides $1.2 billion for the Federal Work Study Program and $25.6 million for the Graduate Assistance in Areas of National Need program. The bill also promotes diversity, equity, and inclusion within our graduate programs. The bill devotes $27.1 million to promoting postbaccalaureate opportunities for Hispanic Americans, $100.6 million in strengthening Historically Black Graduate Institutions, and $19.8 million in strengthening master’s degree programs at Historically Black Colleges and Universities. The bill also promotes the U.S. through international graduate education and research by providing $85.2 million in international education and foreign language studies programs and $10.8 million in funding for research abroad. The appropriations bill also includes $47.9 billion to the National Institutes of Health, including $2.4 billion for the Advanced Research Projects Agency for Health (ARPA-H).

On October 21, Senators Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and Richard Shelby (R-AL) floated the idea of negotiating a two-year spending bill, rather than just passing fiscal year 2022 appropriations legislation. “We’ve done a number of two-year deals,” Senate Appropriations ranking member Richard Shelby said. “A two-year deal, if you can do one, you put that off the table and you probably get more done.”

Budget Reconciliation: Build Back Better Act of 2021

Along with funding the government, Members of the 117th Congress are also looking to find consensus on the Budget Reconciliation: Build Back Better Act of 2021. Provisions in the budget reconciliation package include funding for programs important to colleges, universities, and fundamental scientific research, as well as important immigration reform proposals. House and Senate Democrats continue to meet with President Joe Biden and White House staff to determine the overall funding level for the package. According to recent media reports, the budget reconciliation package may be funded at $1 trillion-$2.5 trillion. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Speaker Nancy Pelosi will meet with President Biden this weekend for further discussion on the budget reconciliation package.

CGS Joins Letter Urging Flexibility in Travel Policies for International Students and Scholars

On October 14, CGS joined other higher education associations in sending a letter to the White House and the Centers for Disease Control concerning international students, scholars, and researchers. Specifically, the letter urges the Biden Administration to allow these students, scholars, and researchers, who are from countries where the COVID vaccine is not widely available, to enter the United States.


International students and scholars would then be vaccinated upon arrival either on campus or in the surrounding community. This ensures that international students and scholars from countries with limited access to U.S. and WHO-approved vaccines are not limited in their ability to travel to the U.S. for their studies and research.

CGS and Higher Education Community Thanks Congress for their Support of Student Veterans

On October 21, the Higher Education community sent thank you letters to Members of the House Committee on Veterans Affairs for their continued support of student veterans. Specifically, the community thanked Committee Members for the introduction of the Student Veteran COVID-19 Protection Act (H.R. 5509) and the Responsible Education Mitigating Options and Technical Extensions (REMOTE) Act (H.R. 5545). Here are the thank you letters for H.R. 5509 and H.R. 5545.


Both bills would extend certain COVID-related flexibilities granted to the secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) in the wake of the pandemic. Without this extension, veterans could see their benefits reduced or cut off if, for example, their institution is forced to move instruction online due to the pandemic. Extending these provisions now will allow the secretary to adjust as needed and ensure that veterans’ benefits are not disrupted.

USCIS Parole Stakeholder Engagement

Following the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan and the evacuation of thousands of Afghan students, scholars, and their families, the higher education community has been working with the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of State to assist in the resettlement effort. In addition to signing-on to a letter calling on the U.S. government to provide much-needed assistance to Afghan students and scholars, CGS President Suzanne Ortega participated in discussions with Office of Science and Technology Director Eric Lander and other higher education community leaders on resettlement efforts.


The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) will be hosting a webinar on Humanitarian Parole. Below is information about the upcoming webinar: