DC Digest – May 18, 2015

In Today’s Issue:

  • 3 Dukies Serve as Expert Witnesses in House E&C Subcommittee Hearing
  • Ed Associations Sign Coalition Letter on Labor-HHS-Education Funding Allocation
  • House to take up America COMPETES
  • Higher Ed Community Submits Comments on Data Transparency
  • AAU, COGR Comment on NIST Guidance on Controlled Unclassified Information


3 DUKIES SERVE AS EXPERT WITNESSES IN HOUSE E&C SUBCOMMITTEE HEARING
Three expert witnesses with Duke ties testified before a House Committee on Energy and Commerce subcommittee on Friday.  The panel convened to discuss improving transparency and predictability at the Federal Communications Commission.

The witnesses (who all wore Duke-themed ties) included: Stuart Benjamin, Douglas B. Maggs Chair in Law and Associate Dean for Research at Duke Law School; Rob McDowell (T ’85), former Commissioner of the FCC; and Randy May (T ’68, L ’71), president of the The Free State Foundation.

Read More:
Three Experts Bound by Duke Ties Testify Before Congress (duke.edu)
FCC Reauthorization: Improving Commission Transparency – Part II (energycommerce.house.gov)
Photos from the hearing (facebook)

EDUCATION ASSOCIATIONS SIGN COALITION LETTER ON LABOR-HHS-EDUCATION FUNDING ALLOCATION
A group of 812 organizations, including AAU, ACE, and NAICU, signed on to a coalition letter that urges House and Senate appropriators to increase the FY16 funding allocations for their respective Labor-HHS-Education subcommittees to at least the FY10 funding level of $163.6 billion. The House FY16 allocation is $153.0 billion.

The May 8 letter asks committee leaders to “recognize the value of health, education, child development, social services, and job training and workforce development in improving the lives of American families.” It notes that even if subcommittee funding is returned to $163.3 billion, that amount “will have considerably less purchasing power than in FY 2010 after six years of inflation, population growth, and other rising costs.”

The coalition letter was led by the Committee for Education Funding, the Coalition for Health Funding, and the Campaign to Invest in America’s Workforce.

Read More:
Coalition Letter on L-HSS-Ed Funding (pdf)

HOUSE TO TAKE UP AMERICA COMPETES
The House is expected to take up the rewrite of the America COMPETES Act, a measure to reauthorize several federal science agencies, including the National Science Foundation and the Department of Energy. The bill outlines steps to increase funding for NSF and the Department of Energy Office of Science, but it cuts funding for several areas of scientific research, such as social and behavioral sciences, geosciences, environmental and applied energy programs. House Science Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas) has touted the bill as fiscally responsible, but Democrats and parts of the higher education community disagree.

AAU and a number of other scientific, academic, and business organizations have expressed opposition to the bill because it fails to provide steady, sustained support for research and innovation, and would significantly reduce funding for important programs at the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the Department of Energy (DOE).

Read More:
AAU Statement on HR 1806, America COMPETES Reauthorization (pdf)

HIGHER EDUCATION COMMUNITY SUBMITS COMMENTS ON DATA TRANSPARENCY
A group of 23 higher education associations on May 8 submitted comments to Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-TN) in response to his panel’s white paper on federal postsecondary education data transparency and consumer information.

The letter, submitted by the American Council on Education (ACE) on behalf of the community, said that federal data and information for postsecondary education must serve three purposes. These are to 1) provide consumer information to help students and their families review options for postsecondary education and select the one that best suits their needs; 2) permit analysis and research into public policy questions involving the broad sweep of postsecondary education; and 3) ensure that public funds are properly spent and support efforts to hold institutions accountable.

The HELP Committee in March released three white papers outlining ideas for discussion during reauthorization of the Higher Education Act. Along with data transparency and consumer information, they dealt with institutional accreditation and institutional risk-taking.

Read More:
Data Transparency Comments (acenet.edu)
Sen. Alexander Seeks Feedback on HEA White Papers (Alexander.senate.gov)

AAU, COGR COMMENT ON REVISED NIST GUIDANCE ON CONTROLLED UNCLASSIFIED INFORMATION
AAU and the Council on Governmental Relations (COGR) on May 12 sent a letter to the National Institute on Standards and Technology (NIST) regarding the agency’s revised draft guidance for federal agencies to use in protecting controlled unclassified information (CUI) in nonfederal information systems and organizations (NIST Special Publication 800-171).

The AAU-COGR letter urges NIST to strengthen its recognition that nonfederal organizations may implement alternate security measures to satisfy the proposed requirements. It also reiterates concern expressed in the associations’ previous comments that the CUI standards are likely to become prescriptive, which could have significant cost and compliance implications for universities. The letter further urges NIST to place the onus on federal agencies to state clearly when CUI is involved and when the standards contained in 800-171 must be invoked.

Read More:
Comment on NIST Guidance on CUI (pdf)