DC Digest – June 27, 2017

In Today’s Issue:
  • Trump Travel Ban
  • GOP Healthcare Update
  • Appropriations Updates
  • Small Business Innovation Bill 
  • Guidance on Year-Round Pell
  • Student Loan Defense 
  • NIST Bill Would Change Agency


President Trump’s travel ban will be partly reinstated, the Supreme Court said Monday, June 26. In an unsigned order, the court agreed to allow the ban to take effect, but stipulated that it “may not be enforced against foreign nationals who have a credible claim of a bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the United States.” The court went on to explicitly state that the exception includes foreign college students. The Association of American Univerities is interpreting this to include faculty and staff with previous affiliation with a University.

The travel ban halts for 90 days the issuance of new visas from six majority-Muslim countries (Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen) and halts for 120 days the refugee resettlement program.

Supreme Court Agrees to Hear Travel Ban 

The Supreme Court announced yesterday, June 26, it will hear arguments this fall on President Trump’s travel ban executive order.

Ban-ana Republic


The vote on the Better Care Reconciliation Act of 2017, the Senate GOP’s Obamacare ‘repeal and replace’ legislation, has been pushed back past the July 4th Congressional Recess. A new date has not been scheduled.

CBO Score Released

Yesterday, June 26, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) released its score of the Senate GOP Better Care Reconciliation Act of 2017.

CBO Score

Higher Ed Groups Speak on GOP Healthcare Bill

A coalition of higher education groups, several of which Duke is a member, wrote in a letter today, June 27, that the Senate Republican health care bill would have a “severely negative” impact on the nation’s colleges, universities and teaching hospitals.

Higher Ed Speaks


Energy and Water

Earlier today, June 27, the House Energy and Water Appropriations Subcommittee released its FY18 appropriations bill. The Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) number is roughly 50% below FY17. The Office of Science is flat (roughly the same as FY17). The Energy and Water subcommittee bill goes along with the administration’s proposal to eliminate ARPA-E. We will provide more details once they become available.

  • EERE: $1.103 billion
  • Nuclear Energy: $969 million
  • Fossil Energy Research: $634.6 million
  • Office of Science: $5.392 billion

Senator Lamar Alexander (R-TN), Chairman of the Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions, spoke in support of ARPA-E during last week’s Senate E&W hearing.

Perry Close Attention

House Armed Services

Yesterday, June 26, the House Armed Services Committee (HASC) released the Chairman’s mark-up of the FY 18 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). HASC is scheduled to consider the Chairman’s mark-up today, June 27.

  • DOD Research, Development, Test, & Evaluation (RDT&E) FY18: $83,997,859
  • Basic Reseach: $2,258,529
  • Applied Research: $4,983,465
  • Advanced Technology Development: $6,063,283
  • Science & Technology (S&T): $13,305,277

The Wild Thornberrys


On Thursday June 22, the House Science, Space, and Technology Committee unanimously passed H.R. 2763, the Small Business Innovation Research and Small Business Technology Transfer Improvements Act of 2017. H.R. 2763 provides minor updates and improvements to the SBIR and STTR programs, such as requiring the Small Business Administration to provide a comprehensive annual report on these programs to Congress and the Office of Science and Technology Policy.

Small Business, Big Bills


Late Monday, June 26, the Department of Education issued initial guidance for the implementation of year-round Pell Grants, confirming the grants will be payable only out of 2017-18 funds based on need analysis. This change will enable an eligible student to receive up to 150 percent of the student’s Federal Pell Grant Scheduled Award beginning in the 2017-18 award year.

Go Pell it on the Mountain


The Trump administration is providing new numbers that show it’s making some progress in expunging the federal student loan debt of the 16,452 borrowers whose debt relief claims were already approved by the Obama administration. As of Monday, June 26, 7,085 of those previously-approved claims, totaling approximately $92 million, have been fully discharged, according to the Education Department.

Another 7,358 “are at the servicer and in the pipeline to be discharged shortly,” and 2,010 approved claims “are actively being worked on” and will be sent to the loan servicer for discharge “shortly,” the department said in a statement.


Congressional Republicans are facing opposition and provoking anxieties over a proposal to turn an obscure technical agency into the federal government’s cybersecurity auditor. The legislation would require the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) to assess other agencies’ digital security practices, a significant change to the agency’s longtime mandate to merely set the guidelines.

NIST Fight