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Washington Update

Government Funding Update
Late last week, following House and Senate passage, the president ended the 34-day partial government shutdown when he signed a three-week continuing resolution into law. The legislation provides funding until February 15 for the seven FY2019 appropriations bills that are not yet enacted. The action allows the departments and agencies impacted by the lapse in funding to get back to work and gives lawmakers some time to negotiate a plan to fund those agencies for the remainder of the year. Shortly before the bill was signed into law, APLU President Peter McPherson released a statement urging the White House and Congress to come together to avoid another shutdown and find long-term solutions.

The day before the stopgap funding bill was signed into law, APLU issued a statement to lawmakers calling for an immediate end to the partial shutdown. APLU also joined several organizations on a group letter to the White House and Congress, organized by the Coalition for National Science Funding, addressing the shutdown’s impact on the National Science Foundation and the broader science community.

Associations Seek Clarification on ED Foreign Gift, Contracts, and Ownership Interest Reporting Requirements
On January 18, APLU joined the other five major presidential higher education associations in submitting a letter to Principal Deputy Under Secretary, Diane Jones, seeking clear guidance on Section 117 of the Higher Education Act and its requirements of institutions.

Section 117 requires institutions of higher education that receive Title IV federal student aid dollars to submit to the Secretary of Education reports about gifts received from any foreign source, contracts with foreign entities, and any ownership interests in or control over the institution by foreign entities.

In the letter, the associations ask for clarifications on the $250,000 reporting threshold; what is considered an “institution” under the Section 117 definition; guidance on when it is appropriate to only list the country from which a gift(s) has been received versus a specific government-affiliated university, company, and/or other entity; and the mechanisms institutions should use to submit corrections or amendments to previous reports.

Higher Ed Associations Submit Comments on NIST ROI Green Paper
APLU joined other higher education and research groups in submitting comments to the National Institutes of Standards and Technology (NIST) in response to the agency’s Return on Investment Green Paper released last December. The comments support a number of NIST’s recommendations, including the adoption of some suggestions made by the associations last July. According to NIST’s Green Paper website, the agency will publish a final paper in February and initiate implementation as soon as March.

Associations Respond to ANPRM on Emerging Technologies
APLU and other research and higher education associations responded to the Department of Commerce’s advance notice of proposed rulemaking (ANPRM) issued last November which sought the public’s input on how to define emerging technologies that are essential to national security. The ANPRM was prompted by Section 1758 of the FY2019 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which authorizes the Department to establish controls on the export, reexport, or transfer of emerging and foundational technologies. In the letter, the associations offer a definition for “emerging technologies” while noting its “definition does not apply to an exporter’s determination of whether a ‘technology’ is ‘emerging,’” but rather “governs BIS determinations regarding whether a specific ‘technology’ should be added to the Commerce Control List as an ‘emerging technology.’” The Association of University Export Control Officers also offered comments to the ANPRM.

  • Council on Governmental Affairs

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