Both the House and the Senate were in session this week. Members of Congress will be back in their districts next week for the July 4th recess.
FY2018 Budget/Appropriations Update
Congress has still not agreed upon a budget for Fiscal Year (FY) 2018. Adoption of a budget would, among other things, establish a top-line number for discretionary spending and allow the appropriators to decide how much money to allocate to each of their subcommittees.
Even without a budget, House appropriators are still moving ahead. This week, there were five subcommittee markups and two full committee markups. The Energy and Water appropriations bill provided level funding for the Office of Science but proposed eliminating ARPA-E. Senate appropriators are expected to provide ARPA-E funding when they mark up their bill, likely in July. National Science Foundation funding was largely kept flat.
On the Senate side, none of the subcommittees have considered their respective appropriations bills yet. Below is a chart outlining where bills currently stand.
U of I System Leaders Underscore Importance of NIH F&A Reimbursement to OMB, HHS Leadership
U of I President Tim Killeen and our three university chancellors sent a letter to leadership at the Office of Management and Budget and Department of Health and Human Services to express our strong opposition to proposed cuts to both National Institutes of Health research funding and the associated facilities and administrative (F&A) funding that supports our awards. The letter notes that a 10 percent F&A cap would result in an estimated loss of $46 million in reimbursement to the U of I System. OGR shared the letter with the entire Illinois congressional delegation and will be conducting follow-up meetings with individual offices.
The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) analysis of the Senate Republicans’ bill to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act — the Better Care Reconciliation Act (BCRA) — found that the bill would increase the uninsured population by 22 million and cut more than $772 billion from Medicaid over 10 years. Following the release of the CBO score, at least five Senate Republicans said they would oppose the bill as currently written. Given their narrow majority in the Senate (52-48), Republican leaders delayed a vote on the bill until after the July 4 recess.
Earlier this week, several of our higher education associations co-signed a letter the American Council on Education sent to Senate leadership expressing serious concerns with the Senate health care bill.
Supreme Court Issues Ruling on President Trump's Revised Travel Ban
The Supreme Court issued a ruling that allows the Trump Administration’s March 6 revised travel ban to be enforced against foreign nationals from the six designated countries who lack a “bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the United States.” According to a State Department cable providing guidance to U.S. embassies and consulates, the outlined criteria for a “bona fide” connection to the U.S. includes admittance to a U.S. university or employment with a U.S. entity. The court will hear arguments on the travel ban in the fall.
OGR Federal Relations
Paul Weinberger and Melissa Haas