Following last week's passage of an omnibus appropriations bill, both chambers recessed for a week.
Budget Request Expected March 4
Yesterday the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) signaled that President Obama will release his 2015 budget blueprint on March 4, one month later than expected.
Suddenly, Fresh Hope for Immigration Reform
House Republicans, who delayed taking up immigration reform after the Senate passed comprehensive legislation last spring, have breathed new life into passing piecemeal immigration measures this year. The House GOP is currently composing a set of immigration reform principles that may include a path to legal status (rather than citizenship) for the undocumented. Word is spreading that the House GOP wants to vote on several separate bills by the end of summer.
UIC Chancellor Paula Allen-Meares will travel to DC in February to articulate UIC's priorities for immigration reform, including the DREAM Act.
Farm Bill Inching Toward Goal Line
Now that outstanding issues relating to dairy, payment limits, and livestock regulations appear to have been settled by negotiators, it is looking like a final farm bill will ultimately reach the floor. House farm bill conferees are being summoned to meet on Monday to wrap everything up and file a conference report. The plan is to bring the conference report to the House floor later next week. The Senate has not indicated its floor plans yet.
'Open Access' Provisions Tucked into Behemoth Spending Bill
The omnibus appropriations bill signed into law last week contains an open access provision requiring taxpayer-funded research to make available within 12 months of publication a “machine-readable version of the author’s final peer-reviewed manuscripts that have been accepted for publication in a peer-reviewed journal.” This provision—which applies to all federal agencies—is similar to the proposal issued last year by the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP).
OBAMA TO FOCUS ON INCOME DISPARITY IN STATE OF THE UNION
With some Republicans—including House Budget Committee Chairman (and former Vice Presidential nominee) Paul Ryan—recently echoing concerns about poverty and reduced economic mobility, President Barack Obama is expected to use his fifth State of the Union address to discuss income inequality. Early reports indicate he might offer specific solutions, including an increase in the federal minimum wage or universal pre-kindergarten. While he may also touch on immigration reform and college affordability, he has indicated he is less concerned about pushing an agenda through Congress than he has in the past five years. Instead, he may signal an intent to accomplish goals through executive action, like last week's event with university presidents at the White House. His speech begins at 8 pm CT on Tuesday, Jan. 28.
House Republican Conference Chair Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) will deliver the Republican response. A five-term congresswoman, she is the first GOP woman to deliver the rebuttal since 2000.
COLLEGE RATING SYSTEM SYMPOSIUM RESCHEDULED
A symposium on the Postsecondary Institution Ratings System (PIRS) was scheduled to take place in DC this past Wednesday, but weather conditions caused it to be postponed. It is now set for February 6, 2014. The symposium will focus on the technical side of instituting a rating system, such as data collection methods, metrics, and presentation. A representative from APLU will be among those presenting throughout the day. University of Illinois Vice President for Academic Affairs Christophe Pierre submitted comments on the proposed rating system in November.
Jon Pyatt and Melissa Haas
OGR Federal Relations