News & Media

The Washington Update: House Passes DOE Research and Innovation Act; Executive Order on Entering the U.S.; and more

House Passes H.R. 589, DOE Research and Innovation Act
Last week, the House passed by voice vote H.R. 589, the Department of Energy (DOE) Research and Innovation Act, which would establish DOE policy for science and energy research programs and development activities. This bill is the result of a bipartisan, bicameral agreement reached during last session’s Energy Policy Modernization Act conference. H.R. 589 would improve DOE technology transfer activities; authorize the Energy Innovation Hubs established by the Obama administration; help the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) better partner with the private sector; authorize biological systems science research activities; direct the Office of Science to enable DOE’s applied energy research programs to better leverage its unique advanced computing capabilities; and authorize applied mathematics and software development for high-end computing systems, among other provisions.

APLU President Peter McPherson’s statement in support of H.R. 589 can be found here.

Executive Order on Entering the U.S.
President Trump issued an executive order last Friday temporarily banning citizens of Iraq, Iran, Libya, Syria, Sudan, Somalia, and Yemen from entering the United States. Some immigrant and non-immigrant visa holders, as well as legal permanent residents (green-card holders) were subject to deportation and/or detention in U.S. airports. On Saturday, APLU released a statement expressing deep concern over the White House’s executive action. On Sunday evening, Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary John Kelly issued a statement clarifying that moving forward, green-card holders would be exempt from the ban and allowed admittance into the United States. DHS also released a fact sheet outlining the provisions of the ban.

APLU has posted over 135 member-submitted campus communications in response to President Trump’s executive action. Add your institution’s response by emailing it to publicaffairs@aplu.org.

Department of Education Delays Implementation of Rules
On Monday, the U.S. Department of Education announced a delay in the implementation of three rules: Open Licensing Requirements for Competitive Grant Programs, Every Student Succeeds Act Accountability and State Plans, and the rule changing the Department of Education office responsible for enforcing the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). The delay is consistent with the White House’s moratorium on federal agencies implementing all Obama administration regulations until March 21. In the case of the open licensing rule, it is only a one-day delay. The notice also indicates the Department of Education plans to take additional action on other Obama administration rules that have not yet been implemented — including the borrower defense to repayment rule, teacher preparation, and state authorization.

Final Rule on Protection of Human Research Subjects
On January 19, the Obama administration released the final version of a long-anticipated update to the human subjects research regulations, also known as the “Common Rule.” A summary can be found here. Over the past several years, APLU has worked with other higher education associations to offer formal comments and other input on earlier versions of the rule, which included some concerning provisions for universities and researchers. The final rule reflects some of that feedback and is a significant improvement from earlier drafts.

APLU and the Association of American Universities (AAU) issued a joint statement on the final rule.

  • Council on Governmental Affairs

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