DC Digest – June 20, 2017
OFFICE OF GOVERNMENT RELATIONS
- Senate GOP Healthcare Bill Details
- House GOP Budget Resolution
- Dept of Ed Civil Rights Guidelines
- Funding the NIST
- DACA Still Up in the Air
SENATE GOP HEALTHCARE BILL
The Senate GOP Healthcare bill is reportedly near completion and is due to be released this Thursday, June 22 when Senate Republicans plan to submit the bill to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) for a cost estimate. CBO cost estimates typically take two weeks to score, but Senate Republicans are openly talking about voting on the bill before the July 4 recess. The Senate has eight working days left before then. The bill-drafting process has not included hearings before the relevant Senate committees and details on the bill are still vague.
HOUSE GOP BUDGET EXPECTED SOON
The draft of the House GOP budget for fiscal year 2018 is still at least a week away from being released. It would boost defense spending above President Trump’s proposals while taking cuts to domestic spending.
The House Budget Committee is preparing a fiscal blueprint that would raise base defense spending to $620 billion. That’s about $17 billion more than Trump’s own budget, but below the $640 billion demanded by defense hawks in both chambers.
Domestic program spending would be trimmed down to $511 billion, forcing appropriators to cut about $5 billion from Congress’s spending caps set to go into effect this September.
NEW GUIDANCE FOR CIVIL RIGHTS PROBES
The Trump administration recently released a Title IX enforcement memo telling civil rights investigators to pursue only specific allegations in complaints, rather than take the systemic approach favored by the Obama administration.
The civil rights office under Obama did deep dives into a school’s policies, often requesting detailed records over several years, to determine whether problems were broader than the complaint at hand. That led to a lengthy backlog.
An Education Department spokeswoman said the instructions are meant to “clear out the backlog” of cases. As of this week, the civil rights office had 337 open investigations into allegations that 238 colleges and universities were mishandling sexual violence claims.
Ranking member of the House Science Subcommittee on Research and Technology, Rep. Dan Lipinski (IL-3rd), warned at a hearing Thursday, June 15, that President Trump’s fiscal 2018 budget dangerously shortchanges the technical standards agency NIST.
“The topline budget cut of 25 percent is so severe that if it were implemented, NIST would have no choice but to reduce its cybersecurity efforts,” Lipinski warned. “This represents the epitome of penny-wise and pound-foolish,” given that even a “modest taxpayer investment” in the agency has netted important cyber gains, he said.
NOT SO FAST…
Not long after the Department of Homeland Security announced last Thursday, June 15, its plans to continue the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said, “DACA is something that is ongoing.”
He continued, “It [DACA] is one of the many immigration issues that the President continues to review,” and said there is no update at this time.
The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program grants a deportation reprieve and access to work permits to nearly 788,000 undocumented immigrants brought to the U.S. at a young age. Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly has said several times that his department does not target DACA enrollees, but the president has yet to declare a clear direction for the future of the program.