DC Digest – February 17, 2015

In Today’s Issue:

  • This Week in Washington
  • Dukies on the Move
  • 3 Duke Scholars to Participate in White House Countering Violent Extremism Summit
  • House Approves Permanent Charitable Tax Provisions
  • National Security Agency Director Visits Campus
  • Senators Release Task Force Report on Streamlining Higher Ed Regs
  • House Approves NASA Reauthorization Bill
  • NC Rep Virginia Foxx Introduces Bill to Outlaw College Ratings Plan
  • Higher Ed Associations Endorse Bill to Exempt Students from ACA Employer Mandate

 

THIS WEEK IN WASHINGTON
Both the House and the Senate are in recess this week, and much of Washington is focused on how Congress will address the looming funding deadline for the Department of Homeland Security.  The House has passed legislation that would extend funding for DHS but has tied that bill to provisions that would block President Obama’s executive action on immigration. Senate Democrats have insisted on a “clean” bill, and Obama has threatened to veto the current House-passed legislation – prompting Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) to declare his chamber “stuck” and request the House to pass a different piece of legislation. Current DHS funding will expire on February 27.

Read More:
Boehner: If DHS Funding Runs Out, Senate Democrats to Blame (Washington Post)

 

DUKIES ON THE MOVE
Brendan Daly (T ’84) will join the Save the Children Action Network as the Senior Director of Communications. Daly is currently serving as the Director of Public Affairs at the Department of Energy.

Are you or other Dukies you know making a move in DC?  Please send tips to Landy Elliott –landy.elliott@duke.edu.


3 DUKE SCHOLARS TO PARTICIPATE IN WHITE HOUSE COUNTERING VIOLENT EXTREMISM SUMMIT

The White House this week will host a Summit on Countering Violent Extremism to highlight domestic and international efforts to prevent violent extremists from radicalizing, recruiting, or inspiring individuals or groups to commit acts of violence in the U.S. and abroad.  White House officials said on Monday that though there will likely be policy introduced throughout the summit—the details of which were not yet shared—the summit will focus on fostering a “bottom-up” approach to stopping terrorism before it starts.

Three Duke-affiliated scholars will participate: Sanyin Siang, executive director of the Fuqua/Coach K Center on Leadership and Ethics; Jayne Huckerby, associate clinical professor of law and inaugural director of the Duke International Human Rights Clinic; and Ori Brafman, a senior fellow with the Fuqua/Coach K Center on Leadership & Ethics at Duke University.

Brafmanm, who has worked working with high level military officials to introduce chaos theory into the army, will moderate a panel, “Building Social Movement.” Siang will be a participant in this same panel, highlighting her expertise in driving collaboration among diverse networks to develop innovative solutions.  Professor Huckerby will share her expertise in a separate panel on the role that women play in terrorism.

Read More:
White House Summit on Countering Violent Extremism (whitehouse.gov)
White House Prepares for Summit on Countering Violent Extremism (Time.com)

 

HOUSE APPROVES PERMANENT CHARITABLE TAX PROVISIONS
The House on February 12 approved legislation (H.R. 644) that contains a package of tax incentives, including a permanent extension of the IRA Charitable Rollover, which allows tax-free distributions from individual retirement accounts to charitable organizations.  The White House has issued a Statement of Administration Policy indicating that the President would veto the bill in part because it includes no budget offsets. Senate Democrats also are likely to oppose the bill without a source of revenue to cover its cost.

Read More:
White House Statement of Administration Policy – H.R. 644 (whitehouse.gov)

 

NATIONAL SECURITY AGENCY DIRECTOR VISITS CAMPUS
Admiral Michael S. Rogers, Director, National Security Agency and Commander, U.S. Cyber Command, Chief, Central Security, visited Duke on Monday, February 9. While on campus, he met with students and faculty in a small group session.

 

SENATORS RELEASE TASK FORCE REPORT ON STREAMLINING HIGHER EDUCATION REGULATIONS
Four members of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee on February 12 announced the release of a report they had commissioned which calls for streamlining the Department of Education’s regulation of colleges and universities and offers recommendations for doing so. Committee Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-TN)-who was joined in convening the group by Senators Barbara Mikulski (D-MD), Richard Burr (R-NC), and Michael Bennet (D-CO)-announced that the committee would hold a hearing on the report February 24.

The report, Recalibrating Regulation of Colleges and Universities, was prepared by the Task Force on Federal Regulation of Higher Education, co-chaired by Vanderbilt University Chancellor Nicholas S. Zeppos and University of Maryland System Chancellor William Kirwan, with staffing support from the American Council on Education.

The Task Force identified specific regulations of major concern to higher education institutions, including:

“problematic financial responsibility standards, confusion and inconsistency in reporting requirements for campus crime, overreach in authorization of distance education programs, inefficient rules concerning verification of financial aid eligibility, counterproductive micromanagement of the accreditation process, and policies that result in consumers being inundated with information of questionable value.” The panel also reviewed the processes by which higher education regulations are developed and implemented, and “offers several specific ideas for improvement.”

The four Senators formed the Task Force in November 2013 with the goal of conducting a bipartisan review of U.S. Department of Education regulations and reporting requirements that could inform the reauthorization of the Higher Education Act.

Read More:
Bipartisan Group of Senators Announces Report on Simplifying Federal Regulations for America’s 6,000 Colleges and Universities (help.senate.gov)
Regulations Task Force Report (help.senate.gov)
Task Force on Federal Regulation of Higher Education – Members and Purpose (acenet.edu)
AAU Statement in Support of Task Force Report (aau.edu)

 

HOUSE APPROVES NASA REAUTHORIZATION BILL
The House of Representatives on February 10 approved the NASA Authorization Act of 2015 (H.R. 810 ) under suspension of the rules. The bill is virtually identical to the bipartisan bill that passed the House last year by a vote of 401-2 but failed to be considered in the Senate. As Space Policy Online notes about this year’s bill, “the sponsors of the act avoided tricky budget issues by authorizing funds only for the fiscal year that is already underway (2015) at the same levels that already were appropriated.” It remains uncertain if the Senate will consider the bill.

Read More:
House Passes Bipartisan NASA Bill (science.house.gov)
Space Policy Online – House Passes 2015 NASA Authorization Bill  (spacepolicyonline.com)

 

NC REP. VIRGINIA FOXX INTRODUCES BILL TO OUTLAW COLLEGE RATINGS PLAN
Virginia Foxx (R-NC), chair of the Subcommittee on Higher Education & Workforce Training, Alcee Hastings (D-FL), and John Kline (R-MN), chair of the House Education and Workforce Committee, introduced a bill on February 13 that would block Department of Education regulations dealing with state authorization, definition of a credit hour, gainful employment, quality of teacher preparation programs, and the Department’s college-ratings plan.

The bill would bar ED from enforcing or continuing to develop these regulations until Congress reauthorizes the Higher Education Act.  Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC) is expected to introduce companion legislation later this month.

Read More:
Bill Would Outlaw College-Ratings System and Gainful Employment Rule (Chronicle of Higher Ed)


HIGHER ED ASSOCIATIONS ENDORSE BILL TO EXEMPT STUDENT WORKERS FROM ACA EMPLOYER MANDATE

A group of eight higher education associations sent a letter this week to Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC), endorsing his bill to exempt full-time students from the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) employer mandate, which requires that large employers—including colleges and universities—offer health insurance plans to employees working 30 hours a week or more. Under the ACA, Federal Work-Study students who work 30 or more hours a week are not subject to the employer mandate, but other students employed on campus who do must be offered employer-sponsored health care plans.

Read More:
Higher Ed Association Endorsement of Student Worker Exemption Act of 2015 (H.R. 210)