DC Digest – May 19, 2017

In Today’s Issue:
  • Presidential Budget 
  • NIH Funding Defense
  • DOE Funding Letter
  • NSF Funding Letter
  • Student Start-Ups
  • AHCA Cost
  • Tracking Student Success


The White House plans to release its full budget May 23, OMB Director Mick Mulvaney said yesterday, May 18, in a speech to the Federalist Society.

The proposed budget is largely expected to elaborate the proposed cuts of the President’s ‘skinny’ budget and is only the first step in a long process of budget writing and appropriations. The President’s budget is a starting-line wish list and the final outcome will likely differ greatly. For more on the budget process, the Office of Government Relations directs you to our blog post below.

Where the Rubber Meets the Road

The Trump administration will likely call for a $10.6 billion cut to federal education initiatives such as ending subsidized loans for college students, as well as a federal loan forgiveness program for public servants, according to leaked documents detailing the president’s budget.

Leaked Budget

Some of the agencies likely to be singled out in the president’s budget proposal are below.

  • 20% cut at NIH
  • 16% cut at DOE Office of Science, zero out ARPA-E (and take back prior year funds), 69% cut at EERE
  • 46% cut to EPA Science
  • NSF down 11% overall and for Research & RA
  • 14% reduction for Education

Again, this is the first step and many of these presidential proposals have faced strong bipartisan opposition from appropriators. For more on the proposed cuts focus on education, please see below.

The Gang Writes a Budget


NIH Director Francis Collins told House appropriators May 17 that stable funding for his agency is essential to continue vital research, hinting that looming cuts in the Trump administration’s budget could create a “roller coaster” effect.

Rep. Tom Cole (R-Okla.), chairman of the House appropriations subcommittee that oversees the NIH budget, reiterated his opposition to the proposed cuts — calling them “penny wise and pound foolish.” Cole said they would “stall progress on recent investments” and could “potentially discourage promising scientists from entering or remaining in biomedical research.”

A Cole’d Front


Senators Cory Gardner (R-CO) and Chris Coons (D-DE) are circulating a sign-on letter among their Senate colleagues to encourage Senate appropriators to support sustained funding to R&D at the Department of Energy (DOE).

Department of Encouragement


Led by Senator Ed Markey (D-MA), 29 Senate Democrats submitted a letter to Senate appropriators requesting at least $8 billion for the National Science Foundation (NSF) in FY18.


Rep. Steve Chabot (R-Ohio), chairman of the House Committee on Small Business and California Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-Calif.), want more information about incubators and accelerators popular on some university campuses as a way to boost entrepreneurship and innovation. They are releasing a bill today, Friday 19, that calls for the Commerce Department to partner with the National Academy of Sciences to study the role they place in the commercialization of federally funded research and regional economic development.

Millenials to Millionaires


The Congressional Budget Office announced that they will release a cost estimate for the House-passed version of the AHCA on Wednesday, May 24.


A bipartisan group of senators Monday introduced legislation to overturn a ban on a federal data system that would track employment and graduation outcomes of college students. The ban written into the 2008 reauthorization of the Higher Education Act has meant that while colleges report data at the institutional level, efforts to evaluate outcomes at a more targeted level have been stymied.

While the bill has support from some Democrats and Republicans alike, its passage remains in doubt because opposition to a federal data system remains on the right and the left, based on privacy concerns and philosophical differences over the role of the federal government in higher ed.

Push for ‘Unit Records’ Revived