With August recess right around the corner, Republican leadership is hastening its pace to make progress on outstanding legislative items, particularly appropriations.
FY2018 Budget/Appropriations Update
After some marathon markups these last couple of weeks, House appropriators have cleared all twelve of their fiscal year (FY) 2018 spending bills. Although Senate appropriators are significantly behind their counterparts, they have begun advancing some of their own bills. Below is our latest chart outlining where bills presently stand.
What next? House Republican leadership has indicated that they are planning to package four appropriations bills into a "minibus" that they hope to bring to the floor next week, prior to breaking for August recess. The minibus reportedly contains the Defense, Energy-Water, Legislative Branch and Military Construction-VA spending bills.
The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) has sent guidance to federal agencies and departments with instructions that their overall FY2019 budget submissions to OMB should not be higher than their FY2018 requests, although they can provide requests for up to 5% increases for “effective programs that further support their mission and fill a clear Federal role.”
The Trump Administration recently announced the nomination of Paul Dabbar, an investment banker with J.P. Morgan, to be the Department of Energy’s undersecretary for science. It also announced the nomination of Sam Clovis to be the U.S. Department of Agriculture's undersecretary for research, education, and economics.
Big Ten Financial Aid Directors Weigh in on Perkins
The Big Ten financial aid directors sent a letter to the leadership of the House and Senate education committees regarding the Perkins Loan program, which is scheduled to expire on September 30. The letter asks the members to support an extension until Congress can evaluate all financial aid programs through the next reauthorization of the Higher Education Act.
Urbana Vice Chancellor for Research Peter Schiffer met with Representatives Rodney Davis, Randy Hultgren, Raja Krishnamoorthi, and John Shimkus to underscore the need to prevent cuts to Facilities & Administrative (F&A, or indirect) cost reimbursement. He also stressed the importance of ARPA-E funding, in light of the proposed elimination of the agency in the current House energy and water appropriations bill.
Dr. Gavin Horn, director of research at the Illinois Fire Service Institute (IFSI), testified before the House Science Committee’s Subcommittee on Research and Technology at a hearing to review the effectiveness and priorities of the U.S. Fire Administration and the fire grants programs. Dr. Horn shared his insights regarding setting research agendas and identifying research priorities broadly covering fire protection and fire safety for fire departments, communities and the safety of the nation. Both Reps. Dan Lipinksi and Darin LaHood attended and asked Dr. Horn questions, as did other members.
OGR and Illinois Connection—the University of Illinois Alumni Association's legislative advocacy network—teamed up earlier this week to hold two events with DC-area alumni. The first event was a working lunch with members of our newly-formed U of I Alumni in Government Relations Advisory Group. We also hosted a dinner with board members of the DC Illini Club. On top of introducing the groups to the newest additions to the U of I governmental relations team—Paul Weinberger and Emily Gibellina—the interactions provided a chance to update these active alumni on the University of Illinois System's federal priorities and activities and discuss further collaboration.
The Department of Energy (DOE) announced that the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign was selected to lead one of four DOE Bioenergy Research Centers. The Center for Advanced Bioenergy and Bioproducts Innovation (CABBI) is a collaboration between Urbana’s Institute for Sustainability, Energy, and Environment (iSEE) and the Carl R. Woese Institute for Genomic Biology (IGB). Pending Congressional appropriation, CABBI will receive a total of $104 million over the next five years. Sen. Dick Durbin and Rep. Rodney Davis provided support letters on behalf of the proposal. Read more in iSEE's press release.
Senators Dick Durbin and Lindsey Graham re-introduced the DREAM (Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors) Act yesterday, which would allow eligible Dreamers to earn lawful permanent residence and eventually American citizenship.
OGR Federal Relations
Paul Weinberger and Melissa Haas