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Washington Update

USICA/COMPETES Conferees Announced
Congress announced next steps on reconciling legislation to boost U.S. competitiveness. Lawmakers are expected to work toward compromise legislation between the Senate-passed United States Innovation and Competition Act and the House-passed America Competes Act. Both pieces of legislation would create a new technology-focused directorate at the National Science Foundation and significantly increase authorizations for possible investment in federal research and development in coming years. In February, APLU sent a letter detailing our conference priorities to Congressional leadership.

House and Senate leadership announced conferees for the upcoming USICA/COMPETES conference. APLU combined the House and Senate, Democratic and Republican, lists into one document. Senate Majority Leader Schumer, Senate Minority Leader McConnell, House Speaker Pelosi, and House Minority Leader McCarthy all issued statements when naming conferees that indicate some of their priorities. Committee staff are meeting over the spring recess and member-level meetings will begin when Congress returns.

Title IX Rule Timeline
Last year, the Department of Education (ED) set April as a target deadline for release of a proposed rule on Title IX and campus sexual misconduct. Politico reported that meetings between the White House and stakeholder groups to discuss the department’s proposal, which is not yet public, indicatie there may be a delay to the Title IX proposal timeline. In fact, OMB presently has meetings scheduled through May 16. APLU has provided OMB with its principles for a new Title IX regulation.

APLU Joins Higher Ed Community Letter on Supporting Student Mental Health
APLU and over 100 other signers sent a letter to congressional leadership of the Senate HELP and Finance Committees and the House Education & Labor and Ways & Means Committees regarding student mental health. The letter urged increased congressional support for student mental health initiatives and described the importance of investment in student wellbeing.

The letter also urges Congress to update key legislation to support student mental health and basic needs, as well as expand research funding to improve understanding of what works to support mental health. Additionally, the letter applauds Congress’s attention to tackling urgent mental health challenges across the nation and expresses the importance of working with the higher education community as they move forward.

White House Releases Agency Equity Plans
More than 90 federal agencies, including all cabinet-level agencies, released their Equity Action Plans following Executive Order (EO) 13985, signed by President Biden in January 2021. The EO, Advancing Racial Equity and Support for Underserved Communities, directed federal agencies to advance an agenda of equity and racial justice. The Equity Action Plans detail over 300 concrete strategies and commitments by federal agencies to address that agenda by delivering greater equity and embedding equity in the everyday business of the federal government.

Senate Confirms Laurie Locascio to Lead NIST
The Senate confirmed Laurie Locascio by voice vote as the Under Secretary of Commerce for Standards and Technology and Director of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). Before joining NIST, Locascio was the Vice President for Research at the University of Maryland where she oversaw research, technology commercialization and strategic partnerships and served on the APLU Council on Research Executive Committee. She also previously served as NIST’s Acting Principal Deputy Director and Associate Director for Laboratory Programs.

  • Council on Governmental Affairs

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