White House Unveils Recovery and Infrastructure Plan
President Biden unveiled details of The American Jobs Plan, the administration’s much-anticipated $2.5 trillion recovery and infrastructure proposal to invigorate the economy, rebuild infrastructure, and enhance U.S. competitiveness. Of particular interest to APLU institutions, the American Jobs Plan would invest $180 billion in R&D and technologies of the future; $300 billion to revitalize American manufacturers and small businesses; $100 billion for workforce development and job training; and $100 billion to revive America’s digital infrastructure, including funding for high-speed broadband infrastructure. The plan also contains investments in STEM programs for students at Historically Black Colleges and Universities and other Minority Serving Institutions. An APLU summary of research and broadband components is available here. APLU understands that the second part of the plan covering investments in education and health care will be announced in mid-April.
APLU President Peter McPherson released a statement applauding the administration’s strong investments in research and related infrastructure and broadband access. As a reminder, APLU’s comprehensive recovery and infrastructure priorities document is available here. APLU will continue to work with members of Congress and the administration to advance our priorities as the legislative process moves forward.
U.S. Department of Education Announces Comprehensive Review of Title IX Regulations
In compliance with President Biden’s executive order, Guaranteeing an Educational Environment Free from Discrimination on the Basis of Sex, Including Sexual Orientation or Gender Identity, the ED Office of Civil Rights (OCR) announced a comprehensive evaluation of the Title IX regulations finalized in 2020. OCR plans to solicit feedback from stakeholders, including a public hearing, which will inform whether the agency will issue a notice of proposed rulemaking to amend the Trump administration’s final rule. Additionally, OCR will release a Q&A document in the coming months to provide additional clarity on how it interprets obligations under the Trump administration’s regulations.
APLU will be engaged in these processes to underscore public universities’ commitment to combatting campus sexual misconduct and advocate for appropriate policies to support these efforts.
DHS Secretary Announces Plans to Issue NPRM on DACA
On March 26, U.S. Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas released a statement announcing plans to issue a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) to preserve and fortify the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. Secretary Mayorkas explains that although the NPRM is an important first step, only congressional action can provide full protection and a pathway to citizenship for Dreamers.
Associations Urge ED to Enforce COVID Relief MOE Requirements
On April 1, APLU along with the American Association of State Colleges and Universities and the American Association of Community Colleges sent a letter to U.S. Department of Education Secretary Miguel Cardona urging the agency to enforce the Maintenance of Effort (MOE) requirements in the three COVID-19 relief measures Congress enacted. The letter notes that some state legislatures are planning to cut funding to higher education despite statutory requirements that states must maintain a minimum level of funding as a condition of participating in the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund and the Governor’s Emergency Education Relief Fund.
NSF Seeks Recommendations for Directorate and Advisory Committees
The National Science Foundation (NSF) is soliciting recommendations for membership on its scientific and technical federal advisory committees. Per the notice, “Recommendations should consist of the name of the submitting individual, the organization or the affiliation providing the member nomination, the name of the recommended individual, the recommended individual's curriculum vita, an expression of the individual's interest in serving, and the following recommended individual's contact information: Employment address, telephone number, fax number, and email address. Self-recommendations are accepted.”
Investing in Our Communities Act Reintroduced
On March 29, co-chairs of the bipartisan House Municipal Finance Caucus Representatives Dutch Ruppersberger (D-MD) and Steve Stivers (R-OH) reintroduced the Investing in Our Communities Act. The bill would restore tax-exemption for advance refunding bonds and enable “governments to refinance outstanding bonds for projects such as new roads, schools, hospitals and fire stations, reducing their borrowing costs and freeing up resources for other community improvements.” The legislation is highlighted in APLU’s 117th Congress tax priorities.