Competitiveness Legislation Update
The Senate on Tuesday passed a procedural hurdle to advance legislation to bolster U.S. semiconductor production capacity. The legislation includes semiconductor-related research funding for the Department of Commerce ($11 billion), the National Science Foundation ($200 million), and the Department of Defense ($2 billion) that universities will stand to benefit from.
Prior to the vote, Senate Majority Leader Schumer indicated a vote margin of 60 or more votes would signal broad support for expanding the bill by adding provisions supporting broader federal research agencies and programs. The Senate voted 64-34 to move forward on the bill and Majority Leader Schumer subsequently filed an amended bill that included a host of research-related provisions.
The situation remains extremely dynamic, but a number of APLU priorities are reflected in the amendment as initially filed. This includes reauthorizations for the National Science Foundation, the Department of Energy’s Office of Science, and the National Institutes of Standards and Technology. Additionally, the bill would authorize a new use-inspired research technology directorate at the National Science Foundation and provide billions of dollars in new authorized spending (though not appropriations) at federal research agencies. The Senate is expected to take a vote on final passage later this week or early next week. The bill will then return to the House of Representatives for another vote.
Title IX Guidance Blocked
The U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Tennessee blocked the Biden administration’s new Title IX guidance late Friday night. Judge Charles Atchley said the guidance “directly interferes with and threatens Plaintiff States’ ability to continue enforcing their state laws” that relate to transgender individuals’ ability to play sports and using bathrooms of their choice. A coalition of 20 Republican attorneys general filed the case, arguing their states could lose federal funding due to their state policies and laws.
The Department of Education published its Title IX proposed rule in June, which included the provisions extending application to transgender individuals. The comment period on the rule is open through September 12.
DHS Announces Extension of Venezuela TPS Designation
Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro N. Mayorkas announced the extension of Venezuela’s Temporary Protected Status (TPS) designation for 18 months through September 10, 2024. Only beneficiaries of Venezuela’s current designation who were already residing in the United States as of March 8, 2021, are eligible to register for this TPS designation. If granted TPS, individuals are permitted a temporary stay of deportation and temporary authorization to work in the United States. Under TPS, individuals are eligible for advance parole, allowing them to travel abroad and return to the United States, though this must be applied for separately. An upcoming Federal Register notice