DC Digest – November 10, 2014

In Today’s Issue:

  • Five Things You Should Know About Last Week’s Election
  • Duke Salutes its Vets
  • Duke Election Series Wraps Up Thursday
  • NASFAA: Seriously, What is Up with Perkins for 2015-2016?
  • DIW Briefing: Big Data and Early Childhood Mental Health


Pundits and politicians have discussed last week’s elections ad nauseam.  But what does it all mean for Duke?

1. Changes to NC Delegation. Most of the North Carolina House delegation will return to the Congress.  New members of the House delegation will include Mark Walker (R-NC) replacing retiring member Howard Coble (R-NC) in the 6th district; David Rouzer (R-NC) replacing Mike McIntyre (D-NC), also retiring, in the 7th district; and Alma Adams (D-NC) replacing Mel Watt, who is now the Director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency, in the 12th district. Senator Kay Hagan (D-NC) lost her bid for a second term and will be replaced by Thom Tillis (R-NC).

2. Duke Alums in Congress. Six Duke alumni will be in the 114th Congress.  In the House, alumni include Dan Lipinski G’98 (D-IL), Mo Brooks T’75 (R-AL), Bradley Byrne T’77 (R-AL) and Scott Peters T’80 (D-CA). Senator Rand Paul M‘88 (R-KY) will be joined in the upper body by West Virginia’s new Senator, Shelley Moore Capito T’75 (R-WV), who is making the move from her House seat. Nick Rahall T’71 (D-WV) was defeated in his bid for re-election.

3. Changes in Congressional Leadership. There will be significant changes within the congressional leadership among the chairs and ranking members of committees with research, education, tax and immigration oversight.  This will be especially true in the Senate because of the change in party control.  The Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee will be led by Lamar Alexander (R-TN), with Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) expected to take over as ranking member; Finance Committee chair is likely to be Orrin Hatch (R-UT); Judiciary Committee, which has jurisdiction over immigration oversight, will be chaired by Charles Grassley (R-IA), and John McCain (R-AZ) will become the chair of Armed Services Committee. The gavel of the Appropriations Committee will likely return to Thad Cochran (R-MS).

In the House, the Education and the Workforce Committee will continue to be led by John Kline (R-MN), unless his request for an extension to the six-year term limit is not granted.  If it isn’t granted, Virginia Foxx (R-NC) will become the new chair.  The Ways and Means Committee will likely be given to Paul Ryan (R-WI), and the Armed Services Committee will be handed over to Mac Thornberry (R-TX).  All other chairmanships will remain the same.

4.  Lame Duck Agenda. Before the 113th Congress adjourns in December, there is likely to be some movement on spending, immigration and possibly Higher Education Act reauthorization. Senate and House appropriations staff are currently working on a spending bill with specific funding levels for all federal agencies and programs rather than opting for a continuing resolution (CR) that would simply extend most spending at existing levels.  While there is no guarantee this is how they will ultimately proceed with an actual spending plan, it is widely believed that the research and education programs important to Duke will fare better under such a scenario.  The current CR expires on December 11.

A tax extender bill is possible in the next month which could include several items of interest to Duke, including the IRA Charitable Rollover.

The President will likely issue some form of an immigration executive order in the next few weeks, which could have an impact on how Duke conducts some business with international students and employees.  Senator Harkin (D-IA) has also told his staff he would like to move on reauthorization of the Higher Education Act as well as pursue additional funding for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) before he retires.  It is not clear if there is enough time or political will to accomplish these things before adjournment.

5. Looking Ahead to the 114th. To a certain extent, federally funded research, student aid and an immigration policy friendly to higher education all have bipartisan support.  Before tackling those issues, the Senate and House will likely pass legislation in the first few months of 2015, which could include things like the Keystone XL Pipeline, weakening the Affordable Care Act and some form of corporate tax reform.  If a tax reform bill is pursued in 2015, UBIT reform, excise taxes on compensation, tax incentives for giving and tax related educational benefits and credits will all be on the table.

Read More:
Midterms: The Takeaway for the US, NC, & Higher Ed (DukeToday)
Decision 2014: The Higher Ed Outlook (Chronicle of Higher Ed)
What a Republican Led Congress Means for Higher Education (InsideHigherEd)
Young Guns vs Gavels: A Guide to the Republican Senate’s New War Zones (Politico)

This week, the nation will observe Veterans Day, a day on which we thank, honor, and remember all those who have served in the U.S. Armed Forces. In celebration of this holiday, we thought it fitting to dedicate a blog post to our student veterans by highlighting the program that helps them attend Duke, the value they add to the classroom, and their post-Duke accomplishments.  Duke is proud of its vets and we thank them for their service.

Read More:
Duke Salutes its Vets (governmentrelations.duke.edu)


Register now for the 7th and final installment of Duke University’s Election Discussion Series, which will review and analyze the results of the 2014 mid-term elections. We’ll consider who won and lost; who voted and how they voted; and — to steal a phrase from “Morning Joe” — “what (if anything) did we learn?”

Leading the discussion on Duke’s campus will be Sunshine Hillygus, associate professor of political science, and Nick Carnes, assistant professor of public policy. Joining from Duke in Washington will be Neil Newhouse (T ’74), co-founder of Public Opinion Strategies and current advisor to Republican Senate campaigns in Colorado, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan and West Virginia. The discussion will be moderated by Bill Adair, founder of Politifact and professor of journalism and public policy at the Sanford School of Public Policy.

Thursday, November 13, 4-5pm: 011 Old Chem (on campus) and 1201 New York Ave, NW (in DC).

Read More:
Register Now!

Confusion about the future of the Perkins Loan Program is at an all-time high. And for good reason! Answers from Congressional offices and the U.S. Department of Education range from noncommittal to downright conflicting. Besides advocating on behalf of financial aid administrators, part of NASFAA’s job is to help predict possible programmatic outcomes. Here’s what we know and don’t know about the continuation of Perkins.

Read More:
Seriously, What is Up for Perkins 2015-2016? (NASFAA.org)


Duke in Washington, the Office of Federal Relations, and DUHS Office of Government Relations will host a briefing in DC on December 4 to highlight the Duke Information and Child Mental Health Initiative, and iiD project that seeks to harness the power of information science and revolutionize the way we diagnose and treat early childhood mental health disorders.  A networking reception will follow the panel discussion.

Big Data to Big Insights: Transforming Early Childhood Mental Health
December 4, 2014, 3:30 pm – 5:30 pm
Capitol Visitors Center – Congressional Meeting Room South

Read More:
Invitation w Links to Registration (governmentrelations.duke.edu)