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Washington Update: U.S. District Court Strikes Down Obama-era Overtime Rule; APLU Joins Letter on Proposed NIH Budget Cuts; Associations Submit Net Neutrality Reply Comments to FCC; and More

September 6, 2017

U.S. District Court Strikes Down Obama Administration Overtime Rule
Last week, the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas struck down the Obama Administration Department of Labor’s rule, which sought to change the “white collar exemption” to the Fair Labor Standards Act overtime requirements. For example, the rule would have doubled the minimum salary threshold for “white collar” overtime exemptions. The Court previously issued a preliminary injunction blocking implementation of the rule.

The Department of Labor is presently soliciting public comment on an Request For Information with a comment deadline of September 25. APLU is working with other higher education associations on a response.

Letter to OMB Director Mulvaney and HHS Secretary Price on Cuts to NIH Budget
APLU joined with over 100 other organizations on a letter to Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Director Mick Mulvaney and Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Tom Price to express strong opposition to the administration’s Fiscal Year 2018 proposal to cut $7.2 billion, or 21 percent, from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) budget. Of note, the organizations that signed on to the letter include not only associations of research institutions, but also patient advocacy groups and scientific societies, many of which have not taken strong positions on this issue in the past.

Associations Submit Net Neutrality Reply Comments to FCC
Last week, APLU joined several other higher education and library associations in reply comments to the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) Notice of Proposed Rulemaking “Restoring Internet Freedom,” which would roll back the 2015 Open Internet rule, commonly known as net neutrality rules.

The reply comments highlight the need for strong, enforceable net neutrality policies and rules to protect and promote an open Internet, which are inextricably intertwined with the public interest missions of libraries and institutions of higher education. The letter also notes that numerous other commenters expressed the same concerns about the potential consequences of rescinding net neutrality rules. The reply comments are consistent with net neutrality comments the associations filed in July 2017, as well as previous association statements filed in 2014.

University Innovation and Entrepreneurship Showcase Application Deadline Nears
APLU and the Association of American Universities (AAU), in partnership with VentureWell and the National Academy of Inventors, will host the inaugural University Innovation and Entrepreneurship Showcase, highlighting APLU- and AAU-university affiliated startup businesses on Monday, November 13 and Tuesday, November 14 during the APLU Annual Meeting in Washington, DC. The showcase will promote the importance of federally-funded university research and demonstrate how university-led entrepreneurial engagement contributes to the innovation economy.

Applications are due Friday, September 22 and must be submitted via this form. Additional information about the showcase can be found in this flyer and this supplemental FAQ document. Please contact Carina Márquez at if you have questions or need additional information.

President Trump to Nominate Jim Bridenstine as Administrator of NASA
Last week, President Trump announced his intent to nominate Congressman Jim Bridenstine (R-OK) to be Administrator of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). Representative Bridenstine currently serves on the House Science, Space and Technology Committee, in addition to the House Armed Services Committee, and would be the first politician to lead NASA. Bridenstine’s nomination requires approval by the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee and its Space, Science, and Competitiveness Subcommittee before full Senate consideration. 

  • Council on Governmental Affairs

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