DC Digest – May 26, 2017

In Today’s Issue:
  • Dukies on the Hill
  • Notes on the Budget
  • CBO Score on AHCA
  • USCIS Nominee
  • Travel Ban Update



Jim Luther, Duke’s Associate Vice President of Finance, testified Wednesday, May 24 before the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology on the overhead costs of conducting research at a university.

Luther’s testimony described how the university-government partnership takes advantage of each party’s strongest abilities. Government provides rigorous oversight, accounting, review boards and financial incentives. Universities, in turn, offer talent, infrastructure, management, and responsibility.

Watch him here

Read the testimony here

Catch up on the media commentary here and here

Brodhead Farewell tour

Duke President Richard Brodhead travelled to Washington, D.C., earlier this week to meet with several members Congress for his last visit to the nation’s capital as Duke’s chief executive.

Brodhead, who has been a regular visitor to Washington during his presidency, met with Congressmen G.K. Butterfield (D-NC) and David Price (D-NC), as well as Senators Thom Tillis (R-NC), Richard Burr (R-NC), and Ben Sasse (R-NE).

Farewell Tour 


Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos testified before the House Appropriations Committee May 24 on the proposed budget cuts to the Department of Education.

Test Back in Testimony

149 Organizations Speak out Against Budget Cuts

A group of 149 science and engineering, medical and health, and higher education organizations (of which Duke is included), sent a letter to House and Senate leaders urging them to reject the cuts to scientific research proposed in the Administration’s budget. The letter cautions that sweeping cuts to NIH, NSF, DOE, DOD, NASA and others would cripple the science and technology enterprise and significantly impact U.S. economic competitiveness. 

Citing prior bipartisan support, the letter asks that congressional leaders consider the critical need for sustainable and robust investments in scientific research as they begin work on FY18 appropriations bills.

AAU Release

The Association of American Universities, of which Duke is a member, released a press statement on the President’s budget.

Pressing Issues


The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office estimates the ‘repeal and replace’ measure (the American Healthcare Act) passed by the House earlier this month would increase the number of people without health insurance by 14 million next year and by 23 million in 2026. It would cut the federal deficit by $119 billion over 10 years, which falls short of the $150 billion in projected savings with an earlier version of the AHCA. Experts at the CBO also say one-sixth of the population lives in areas where insurance markets would be unstable by 2020 under the measure.

Estimated Guess


The nominee to become director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services fielded questions May 24 about the future of an Obama-era deportation relief program during a confirmation hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) asked Lee Francis Cissna about the fate of people enrolled in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which allows undocumented immigrants brought to the country at a young age to apply for deportation relief and a work permit.

“I’m aware that both the president and Secretary Kelly have stated publicly and reiterated that the DACA program is to remain in place,” Cissna said. “If confirmed, I would see my role to administer that program well, as it stands.”


The administration has vowed to file an appeal with the Supreme Court over the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals May 25 decision upholding an injunction that blocks it from implementing a key component of the revised travel ban executive order. In its decision, the 4th Circuit maintained that the White House could not move forward with plans to deny visas to citizens from six majority-Muslim countries.

“Chief Judge Roger Gregory said in the court’s majority opinion that the order was unconstitutional because it was deeply imbued with bias against Muslims — hostility the court identified as a staple of Trump’s campaign trail rhetoric.”