Hope Grows for Some Sequestration Relief
This week spurred a sense of optimism around the possibility of a budget agreement that would replace a portion of sequestration cuts. Budget Committee Chairmen Paul Ryan and Patty Murray have been in close discussions about a path forward.
In light of these developments, this past Wednesday, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Chancellor Phyllis Wise joined AAU and APLU university presidents and chancellors in DC to advocate for a bipartisan budget agreement that provides relief from sequestration, and applies equally to defense and non-defense spending. Other participating institutions included the University of California, Los Angeles, Tulane University, the University System of Maryland, Washington State University, the University of Texas at Austin.
The day started with a Bloomberg News editorial board, then shifted to Capitol Hill for a full day of meetings with House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer, House Republican Conference Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers, House Speaker John Boehner's leadership staff, and Senate Budget Committee Chair Patty Murray. Chancellor Wise led the group in a meeting with Majority Whip Dick Durbin, the second highest ranking member of the Senate. She also met with Senator Mark Kirk, as well as staff from the office of Rep. Peter Roskam, who serves as the Chief Deputy Majority Whip in the House.
College Rating System Forums Wrap Up
The final open forum on the Administration's proposed college rating system took place yesterday at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge, LA. Vice President for Academic Affairs Christophe Pierre submitted comments on behalf of the University of Illinois which provide both recommendations and concerns about potential components.
Farm Bill Progress Slips
Although negotiations seemed to be on target for the farm bill conference committee to secure a deal by the December 13 deadline, discussions this week among chief agriculture committee leaders were counterproductive. The commodity title and the nutrition program are at the crux of disagreements. The next full conference meeting is expected to take place on December 4, a mere week and a half before the deadline.
UI JOINS REP. BUSTOS IN HOLDING ECONOMIC SUMMIT
Earlier this morning, the University of Illinois collaborated with Rep. Cheri Bustos in Rock Island, IL for a "Partnering for Illinois' Economic Future" summit. The summit was in follow-up to regional economic development summits that took place in Rockford, Peoria, and the Quad Cities. UI's Vice President for Research Larry Schook led the summit.
ILLINOIS IN WASHINGTON
University of Illinois at Chicago Physics Professor Nikos Varelas and Urbana Physics Associate Professor Mark Neubauer were also in town on Wednesday to spread awareness about advances in particle physics and the discovery of the Higgs Boson. While in DC, they met with Congressional staff from the offices of Senator Dick Durbin, Senator Mark Kirk, Rep. Randy Hultgren, and Rep. Rodney Davis.
Pyatt Makes Public Comments at PCAST Meeting
On behalf of the University of Illinois and The Science Coalition (TSC), OGR Director of Federal Relations Jon Pyatt made public comments at Thursday’s meeting of the President’s Council of Advisors for Science and Technology (PCAST) at the National Academy of Sciences. His prepared remarks highlighted TSC’s recently released report, Sparking Economic Growth 2.0, which featured nine University of Illinois-related companies that owed their origins to basic research grants from federal agencies. Pyatt, TSC’s current Vice President and board member, used the report to highlight the benefits of strong and sustained federal research funding and to demonstrate what could be lost if federal policies like sequestration are not reversed.
REP. LIPINSKI TO BE HONORED AS "CHAMPION OF SCIENCE"
Next Tuesday, the University of Illinois, in coordination with The Science Coalition (TSC), the Illinois Science & Technology Coalition, Northwestern University and the University of Chicago will recognize Rep. Dan Lipinski with the TSC's "Champion of Science" award. TSC is comprised of more than 50 leading public and private research universities and is dedicated to sustaining strong funding for basic federal research. Dr. Caralynn Nowinski, Associate VP for Innovation & Economic Development, will be representing the University of Illinois at the presentation. Afterward, there will be a tech entrepreneurship roundtable. Representing the University of Illinois at the roundtable will be:
- Jed Taylor, Assistant Director of the Technology Entrepreneurship Center, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
- Gabriel Popescu, President and CEO of Phi Optics, Associate Professor, Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
In light of the Thanksgiving holiday, there will not be a federal relations e-newsletter next Friday. On behalf of OGR, we wish you and your families a wonderful and safe Thanksgiving!
Jon Pyatt and Melissa Haas
OGR Federal Relations