The House narrowly approved Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan's FY 2015 budget resolution along highly partisan lines. Every Democrat voted against the budget resolution. The Senate considered legislation to extend expired unemployment benefits retroactively. The chambers adjourned for a two-week district work period.
Network of Regional Manufacturing Institutes Legislation Advances
On Wednesday, a key Senate committee passed the Revitalize American Manufacturing and Innovation (RAMI) Act (S.1468), legislation which would establish a network of advanced manufacturing institutes. Earlier this week, UI President Robert A. Easter endorsed the bill and provided a letter of support to the Senate sponsors (Senators Sherrod Brown and Roy Blunt) as well as the sponsors of the House companion bill (Rep. Joseph P. Kennedy III and Rep. Tom Reed). Chicago's Digital Lab for Manufacturing would serve as a "nerve center" that links the network of institutes.
Patent Troll Bill Slips Again
As the Senate Judiciary Committee continues to try to harmonize the differences between the tech industry and the biomedical and university communities, this week’s committee markup of patent troll legislation was again postponed. It will now be considered on April 29, once the Senate returns from a two-week recess. OGR has continued to advocate for preserving universities' important role in the innovation ecosystem to ensure that discovery doesn’t remain “on the shelf” and inhibit American competitiveness in the global market.
Obama Presidential Library Update
UIC continues to prepare to make its bid for the Obama Presidential Library (OPL). This week, the UIC OPL Steering Committee will meet under the leadership of co-chairs Mary Case (University Librarian and Dean of Libraries) and Michael Redding (Executive Associate Chancellor of Public and Government Affairs). Both Redding and Case will testify in Chicago next week before the Illinois General Assembly, which is interested in ensuring that the library stays within the State of Illinois. Additional UIC advocacy activities for OPL are underway.
Nominations & Confirmations
With her nomination confirmed by the Senate month, Dr. France Cordova was formally sworn in to be Director of the National Science Foundation (NSF) this past Monday for a six-year term.
President Obama also nominated Dr. William Adams, President of Colby College, to be the Chairman of the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH).
ILLINOIS IN DC
Urbana’s Dr. Neal Cohen, Professor of Psychology and Director of the Neuroscience Program, met with leaders in federal funding agencies coordinating President Obama’s BRAIN initiative, which seeks to expand the frontiers of neuroscience. In addition to NSF leaders, Dr. Cohen visited with Story Landis, Director of the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) and Tom Insel, Director of the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH). Dr. Cohen also carved out a day to promote the Center for Nutrition, Learning & Memory—a public-private partnership between the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and Abbott Nutrition—on Capitol Hill and with the White House. He and Dr. Keith Garleb, Director of Global Discovery Research at Abbott Nutrition, met with Phil Rubin, Principal Assistant Director for Science in the White House’s Office of Science and Technology Policy, as well as Illinois delegation offices, to share CNLM’s early advances in nutritional neuroscience. The partnership engages Urbana's Institute for Genomic Biology and the Beckman Institute.
CONGRESS ON CAMPUS
Rep. Gutierrez Visits UIC
U.S. Rep. Luis Gutierrez visited UIC this past Monday for an event sponsored by the Union for Puerto Rican Students. Rep. Gutierrez read from his memoir, "Still Dreaming: My Journey from the Barrio to Capitol Hill," and talked with students, faculty and administrators about the obstacles he has worked to overcome in his personal life and political career. It was a moving experience for students and DREAMers.
Pictured from left to right: Jose Lopez, executive director of the Puerto Rican Cultural Center and adjunct in the UIC Department of Latin American and Latino studies; Rep. Gutierrez; Chancellor Paula Allen-Meares; Hugo Teruel, director of UIC Latin American Recruitment and Educational Services (LARES).
Jon Pyatt and Melissa Haas
OGR Federal Relations