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Washington Update

Fiscal Year 2023 Appropriations Update
With government funding set to run out on December 16, the path forward for Congress completing Fiscal Year (FY) 2023 appropriations before the end of the year is challenging but still possible. APLU continues to press House and Senate leadership to complete the appropriations process and not just pass a long-term Continuing Resolution (CR).

Punchbowl News reported earlier this week that Democratic leaders are discussing an additional one-week CR to keep the government open through December 23 and give Congress more time to negotiate a final funding package. On Tuesday, congressional leaders from both parties met with President Biden and signaled their interest in finding agreement on an omnibus spending package before the end of the year. APLU will continue updating our FY2023 Appropriations chart with any new developments.

Bipartisan Group of Senators Advocate for Full CHIPS and Science Funding
Senate Commerce Chair Maria Cantwell (D-WA) led a group of 12 Democratic and two Republican senators in a letter to Appropriations Committee leaders to fully fund the authorized amounts of the CHIPS and Science Act of 2022. They highlighted the need to support funding for the Department of Commerce Regional Technology Hubs, National Science Foundation TIP Directorate and workforce development, and National Institute of Science and Technology Manufacturing Extension Partnership.

National Defense Authorization Act Update
The National Defense Authorization Act remains on the congressional “to-do” list for 2022, but given the relatively few legislative days left, a slimmed-down package could emerge.

Last month, the Senate attempted to advance its version of the NDAA with 75 amendments, including the APLU-endorsed Global Food Security Reauthorization Act. Additionally, the House passed its version of the NDAA in July on a strong bipartisan basis. The House-passed NDAA included the APLU-endorsed National Security Innovation Act, which would allow the Secretary of Defense to give a narrow pathway for top international scientists in certain key scientific fields to work on behalf of the U.S. national security innovation community.

As Congress returns to a full agenda for the lame-duck session, the path forward may be for the two chambers to negotiate a non-controversial bill that can more easily pass each chamber in the middle of December.

Congressional Leadership Updates
Both House and Senate Republicans held their leadership elections following the midterm elections.

In the House, Representative Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) won the nomination for Speaker of the House, which the full House of Representatives will vote on in January. Several Republicans are threatening to not vote for McCarthy, which could potentially deny him the speakership. Representative Steve Scalise (R-LA) won election to serve as Majority Leader. Representative Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY) was elected as House Minority Leader and Rep. Katherine Clark (D-MA) will serve as Minority Whip.

In the Senate, Democrats are expected to hold leadership elections during the week of December 8, though Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) will remain as Majority Leader and Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) will serve as Majority Whip. Senator Mitch McConnell (R-KY) won reelection as Republican Leader and Senator John Thune (R-SD) will continue serving as Minority Whip.

APLU has created charts with likely chair and ranking members on House and Senate committees ahead of final committee assignments being made.

Department of Education Extends Student Loan Repayment, Interest, and Collections Pause
On November 22, the U.S. Department of Education announced an extension of the pause on student loan repayment, interest, and collections. The extension was put in place to remove uncertainty for borrowers as the administration requests the Supreme Court to review several lower-court orders that have paused implementation of their student debt cancellation plan.

Per the Department’s press release, payments will resume 60 days after they are able to implement the program, or the litigation is otherwise resolved. If the program has not been implemented and the litigation has not been resolved by June 30, 2023, payments will resume 60 days after that. With this new extension, the repayment, interest, and collections pause will have been in place for over three years before borrowers resume payments on their student loans.

  • Council on Governmental Affairs

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