Immigration Bills Fail in the House
Last month, in an effort to address moderate Republican concerns about DACA participants and other Dreamers, the House of Representatives considered a couple bills that included provisions on Dreamers as well as other immigration issues. The House voted on the “Securing America’s Future Act,” a hardline immigration bill introduced by Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-VA). The bill failed to pass when moderate Republicans joined all Democrats in voting against it, 193-231. The House also voted down the “Border Security and Immigration Reform Act,” a bill aimed at garnering wider support. This “compromise” effort was very unsuccessful, as the bill lost by an even wider margin of 121-301, with hardline Republicans joining all Democrats in opposition.
After the bills were introduced but before they were voted on, APLU released a statementexpressing concerns with both bills. “Ultimately,” APLU President Peter McPherson said in a statement, “immigration reform will require bipartisan answers. Neither of the two bills the House of Representatives may consider this week is the product of consensus between the two parties. Republicans and Democrats must work together, compromise, and find lasting solutions. APLU will continue to be an advocate and partner to improve immigration law and bolster the ability of our nation’s public universities to contribute to the public good.”
APLU also released a statementafter the Border Security and Immigration Reform Act, widely known as the House Majority compromise bill, failed in the House. APLU President McPherson said the failure of the compromise bill, “underscores the need for Congress to work across the aisle to advance bipartisan immigration reform legislation that fixes our nation’s broken immigration system.”
Senate FY2019 Appropriations Update
In late June, the Senate Appropriations Committee advanced the FY2019 Labor, Health and Human Services, Education (Labor-HHS-ED) and Defense funding bills. With the passage of these two bills, the Senate Appropriations Committee has now approved all twelve FY2019 appropriations bills.
APLU released a statement after Senate Committee passage of the Labor-HHS-Ed bill, highlighting the funding for National Institutes of Health (NIH) and student aid.
Labor, Health, Human Services, and Education
The Committee approved the Labor-HHS-Ed FY2019 funding legislation (seebilland report) on a vote of 30-1. The bill would fund the NIH at $39.084 billion, a $2 billion increase from FY2018 enacted levels. The House bill would fund the agency with a smaller increase, at $38.334 billion. Both the Senate and House bills stand in contrast to the President’s Budget Request (PBR), which would fund the agency at $34.767 billion.
The Senate’s NIH funding level is inclusive of the full $711 million of Innovation Fund support, authorized by the 21st Century Cures Act. Furthermore, the committee included language rejecting the president’s proposal to create three new Institutes at the NIH. The Senate bill includes language to keep the extramural salary cap at Executive Level II, while the PBR proposed to lower the cap to Executive Level V. Also included in the bill is a provision instructing administration officials to continue support for facilities and administrative (F&A) costs.
Under the Senate bill, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality(AHRQ) would be level-funded at $334 million, which is also equal to the House proposal. While the PBR proposes consolidation of AHRQ into the NIH, the committee wrote, “The Committee does not support the administration’s proposal to consolidate AHRQ into the NIH and instead continues to fund the agency as an independent operating division within the Department.”
Additionally, the bill would provide $22.475 billion for Pell Grants at the Department of Education, level with FY2018 enacted and the PBR. The House proposed $24.445 billion. The bill would increase the maximum Pell grant award to $6,195 – $100 more than the maximum FY2018 award and $100 more than the House proposal. Also included in the Senate bill is a $600 million rescission to the Pell Grant surplus.
While the PBR would reduce TRIO program funding to $950 million, the Senate proposal would provide $1.010 billion, which is level with FY2018 funding. The House proposal would fund TRIO programs at $1.060 billion. While the PBR would zero out GEAR UP, the Senate bill would provide $350 million, $10 million less than the House bill and level with FY2018 funding. The Institute of Education Sciences would receive $615 million, $2 million above FY2018 and the House proposal, and a $93 million increase above the PBR.
The Committee’s report contains language pertaining to national security, including language urging the NIH to secure intellectual property and develop a public list of Confucius Institutes that have received NIH funding since 2013. The report also directs the Department of Education to provide to the House and Senate Appropriation Committees reports on foreign gifts disclosure and data on the prevalence of Confucius Institutes in such reports.
The Committee advanced the Defense FY2019 appropriations legislation (see bill textand report) by a vote of 30-1. The bill would fund the Department of Defense (DoD) Science and Technology accounts (6.1-6.3)at $15.4 billion, $993 million above the House proposal, $1.77 billion above the PBR, and $563 million above FY2018 levels. The bill would also provide $2.8 billion forDoD Basic Research (6.1), $500 million above the House bill, $529 million more than the PBR, and $455 million above FY2018 enacted. The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA)would receive $3.4 billion, a $57 million increase above the House proposal, $7 million above the PBR, and a $375 million increase from FY2018.
House Passes FY2019 Defense Appropriations Bill
The House of Representatives passed its FY2019 Defense appropriations bill on a vote of 359-49 (see bill textand report). While the bill would provide the Department of Defense (DoD) Science and Technology accounts (6.1-6.3) funding of $14.433 billion, $772 million above the PBR, the proposal is $433 million below FY2018 levels. The bill would also provide $2.298 billion for DoD Basic Research (6.1), $45 million below FY2018 and $29 million above the PBR. DARPA would receive $3.388 billion, a $316 million increase from FY2018 and $51 million below the PBR.
Senate Passes Farm Bill
The Senate passed its version of the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018, S.3042, also known as the Farm Bill, by a vote of 86-11. Prior to passage, 15 additional amendments were adopted en blocin a manager’s package, including an amendment offered by Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH) that would affect the capacity funding formula for the 1890 Land-grant system. Among the amendments offered but not agreed upon was an amendment offered by Senators Mike Lee (R-UT) and Cory Booker (D-NJ) regarding use of checkoff funds. The amendment was voted down on a vote of 38-57.