DC Digest – June 30, 2017

Duke University


In Today’s Issue:

  • Travel Ban Guidelines
  • Appropriations Update: NSF, NASA, DOD
  • Debt Ceiling
  • F&A Costs
  • DACA Push
  • New Surgeon General


Duke Staff and the Office of Government Relations are working out the implications of the temporary application of the president’s travel ban. Vice President of Administration Kyle Cavanaugh recently penned an email to the Duke community and a detailed explanation of the guidelines can be found online.

Life Takes Visa


The House Commerce, Justice, and Science Appropriations Subcommittee have been working on appropriations bills for the National Science Foundation (NSF) and National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).

According to the press release, the bill funds NSF at $7.3 billion, which is $133 million below FY17.

  • Research and Related Activities: $6.033 billion (out of this amount $544 million will be available polar research and operations). This is the same amount of funding RR&A received in FY17.
  • Education and Human Resources: $880 million. This is the same amount of funding EHR received in FY17.
  • Major Research Equipment and Facilities Construction: $77.8 million. This is a roughly $122 million less than the amount of funding MREFC received in FY17 ($200.3 million).

According to the press release, the bill funds NASA at $19.9 billion, which is $219 million above FY17.

  • Science: $5.858 billion. This is $94 million above the amount of funding SMD received in FY17 ($5.764 billion).
  • Aeronautics: $660 million. This is the same level of funding ARMD received in FY17.
  • Space Technology: $686.5 million. This is the same level of funding STMD received in FY17.
  • Education: $90 million (out of this amount, $40 million will be available for Space Grant and $18 million for EPSCoR). Unlike the FY18 Presidential Budget Request, the House CJS Appropriations bill funds NASA’s Education Office and funds Space Grant at the same level it received in FY17.

The House Appropriations Committee recently released the FY 18 House Defense Appropriations bill. The text of the bill can be found here and the committee report can be found here.

Within DOD basic research, the bill provides:

  • $20 million in additional funds for the Army University and Industry Research Centers program for research into materials in extreme dynamic environments and materials technology for high performance polymers
  • $4 million to support the Army Research Laboratory Open Campus Initiative, specifically for the hiring of university faculty under joint appointments with the laboratory at ARL extended campuses across the country to increase access to infrastructure, research staff, equipment, concepts, and results
  • $16 million in additional funds for Navy University Research Initiatives with $10 million for the Defense University Research Instrumentation Program (DURIP) and radar technology research
  • $5 million in additional funds for Air Force University Research Initiatives research

National Defense Education Program (NDEP): No funding provided for the Manufacturing Engineering Education Program (formerly known as Manufacturing Universities program but DOD still has $10 million from FY 17 that has not been spent yet)

Defense-Wide Manufacturing S&T Program: Fully funds the Manufacturing USA Institutes at requested levels to enable continued operation of all existing institutes.

Congressionally Directed Medical Research Programs (CDMRPs): Research funding is dedicated for alcohol and substance abuse disorders; ALS; Alzheimer; autism; breast cancer; kidney cancer; lung cancer; multiple sclerosis; ovarian cancer; prostate cancer; spinal cord; traumatic brain injury and psychological health; and orthopedic among others.

Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA): There is a $100 million across the board rescission in the report language.


Congress has only about 100 days to resolve its standoff on the debt ceiling. The federal government is now expected to run out of cash in “early- to mid-October,” forcing Congress to take action to lift its borrowing limit, the CBO said today.

The federal deficit is growing faster than expected this year as the government faces “surprisingly weak tax collections,” as well as larger subsidies for programs like education and housing, the nonpartisan budget scorekeeper said.

Ceiling Fans


Congressional representatives are deep in a conversation about the fate of Facilities and Administrative (F&A) costs and the government’s role in reimbursing universities for the cost of conducting research.

Former House Science Committee Chairman Sherry Boehlert recently penned a letter in response to current Chairman Lamar Smith’s Washington Times op-ed on F&A costs.


Attorneys General from Texas and nine other Republican-led states threatened Thursday to sue the Trump administration over a program that grants deportation relief and access to work permits to nearly 788,000 “Dreamers,” or undocumented immigrants brought to the country at a young age.

In a letter to Attorney General Jeff Sessions, the states urged the administration to rescind the June 2012 memorandum that created the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program during President Barack Obama’s first term.

De-port Card


President Trump has nominated Indiana’s health commissioner to be the next Surgeon General, more than two months after dismissing former Surgeon General Vivek Murthy in April. Dr. Jerome Adams had been appointed as the head of Indiana’s health department by Vice President Mike Pence during the latter’s tenure as Indiana governor.

Surgeon to the Top