DC Digest – December 1, 2016

In today’s issue:

  • Congress Will Delay Decisions on FY17 Appropriations with a Continuing Resolution
  • House Passes 21st Century Act
  • Outlook for Future Action on Overtime Ruling
  • News from Duke in DC: Colin Colter (T ’15) Joins Office as Program Specialist

CONGRESS WILL DELAY DECISIONS ON FY17 APPROPRIATIONS WITH A CONTINUING RESOLUTION
Congress will likely approve a continuing resolution (CR) lasting through spring of 2017, House Appropriations Committee Chairman Hal Rogers (R-KY)  announced shortly after returning to Washington, D.C. following the November 8 elections. The CR will fund the government at the same level as the past fiscal year.

Just after the November elections, the Association of American Universities (AAU) sent a letter to House and Senate leaders urging them to finish the FY17 appropriations process this year. The letter noted that proposed funding increases for research in the House and Senate appropriations bills, as well as the Senate-proposed restoration of the year-round Pell Grant, would be lost with a year-long CR. The new Congress could still provide the investments mentioned in the letter if it passes FY17 appropriations bills. “All these proposed funding increases would help prevent an innovation deficit and ensure the U.S. remains the global innovation leader,” said the letter. AAU also requested increased investments for other research and higher education programs.

HOUSE PASSES 21ST CENTURY CURES ACT
The House on November 30 approved the 21st Century Cures Act, a broad-based medical innovation package that AAU strongly supports. According to the New York Times, the Senate will likely consider the bill next week.

The Cures Act increases funding for the National Institutes of Health by $4.8 billion over the next 10 years, promotes expedited review of drugs and medical devices by the Food and Drug Administration, updates federal mental health programs, and directs federal agencies to reduce the research regulatory burden in such areas as animal welfare, sub-recipient monitoring, and financial conflict of interest reporting.

OUTLOOK FOR FUTURE ACTION ON OVERTIME RULING
On November 22, a U.S. District judge blocked the December 1 implementation of the Department of Labor’s (DOL) overtime rule. In the aftermath of this decision, officials at Duke and within higher education associations have been closely monitoring the potential legislative and executive actions that could take place over the coming months. DOL could appeal the injunction, but it is unlikely an opinion would be issued until 2017. Congress could try to use the Congressional Review Act to block the rule after January 20, or consider legislation to modify the rule. The new administration also could reopen the rulemaking.

On the day of the ruling, Kyle Cavanaugh, the vice president for administration, outlined the impacts this ruling will have upon the Duke community here.

NEWS FROM DUKE IN DC: Colin Colter (T ’15) Joins Office as Program Specialist
The Duke in DC office is thrilled to welcome Colin Colter (T ’15) as the new Program Specialist. His responsibilities will include communications efforts for the office, including blogs, newsletters, and maintaining a social media presence. In addition, Colin will support the work of the Office of Government Relations and all University activity in the nation’s capitol.

Colin previously completed a United Nations Fellowship at the Alliance of Civilization Institute in Istanbul, Turkey with a focus on intercultural dialogue and Turkish language skills. Prior to his stint in Turkey, Colin worked in project management and litigation for a minority-owned, women-owned small business and government contractor in Arlington, Virginia. 

He has also conducted fieldwork on micro-finance with Grameen Bank in Dhaka, Bangladesh and has taught advanced biology to under-served students in rural Vietnam. Colin is a Duke 2015 graduate who majored in International Comparative Studies and was a four-year varsity saber fencer and captain his senior season.