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Washington Update

APLU Supports Letter Expressing Outrage Towards Threats Against HBCUs
APLU and other organizations and associations in a letter expressing the higher education community’s outrage at the threats aimed at Historically Black Colleges and Universities. The community letter urges Congress to promptly pass a resolution, H.Con.Res. 70, condemning threats of violence against HBCUs and hold hearings into these threats.

DOJ Pledges Prosecutorial Restraint on Research Security
On February 23, Matthew Olsen, Assistant Attorney General for National Security at the Department of Justice (DOJ), gave a speech on countering nation-state threats. During his remarks, Olsen announced the DOJ’s intention to retire its “China Initiative” label for efforts to counter economic espionage and malign influence by the Chinese government. The change follows a review of the “China Initiative” that resulted in concerns that prosecutions of university scientists created a “chilling atmosphere” that damages the U.S. research apparatus.

Olsen also noted that the DOJ National Security Division is changing its strategy on academic research security cases to exert more oversight of investigations and criminal prosecutions and considering civil or administrative penalties for cases that lack clear national or economic security implications.

Appropriations Update
The Senate passed a continuing resolution and President Biden signed the funding the government through March 11. Congressional leaders are optimistic that an omnibus bill will be passed by the March 11 deadline. “We’re coming along. We’re coming along. I think there’s a good chance we’ll make it,” said Senate Appropriations Ranking Member Shelby (R-AL). “If we keep working in a bipartisan way, which we’ve been doing the last week or two, maybe we’ll get there.”

While appropriations leaders reached an FY22 budget framework agreement, additional details have not been released. Subcommittee leaders have received their allocations, and for some non-defense committees, the numbers are lower than anticipated. Senator Shaheen (D-NH), Chair of the Commerce-Justice-Science Appropriations Subcommittee, also expressed concerns about a lower allocation than expected. “I’m disappointed that it’s lower than we thought our original allocation was going to be,” Shaheen said. “But I’m pleased that a decision’s been made, and we’re not going to have a continuing resolution the whole year. We need to get the omnibus done.”

Senator Van Hollen (D-MD), Chair of the Subcommittee on Financial Services and General Government, said that while the subcommittee’s funding increased, the final allocation is less than what Democrats had proposed in the fall. “We’re not going to be able to do what we want to do,” Van Hollen said.

APLU Outlines COMPETES/USICA Conference Priorities to Congressional leaders

On Monday, APLU sent its COMPETES/USICA conference priorities letter to congressional leaders.

“[USICA and COMPETES] hold great promise to help protect and advance U.S. science and technology (S&T) leadership. APLU urges Congress to reach a bipartisan compromise that the nation’s public research universities can support. Crucially, a strong authorization bill is no replacement for a plan to deliver on needed funding. We urge Congress to deliver on both,” McPherson wrote in a letter sent today to Senate Majority Leader Schumer, Senate Minority Leader McConnell, House Speaker Pelosi, and House Minority Leader McCarthy

  • Council on Governmental Affairs

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