Elections, Congressional Funding on Our Radar this Fall


As classes resume on campus, the election looms, and the federal government funding remains uncertain, questions inevitably arise regarding the state of politics and its impact on the Duke community. Congress, when it returns to Washington, D.C. on September 6, aims to pass a measure to keep the federal government open past Sept. 30. Two months after Congress returns, the candidates will be preparing their closing arguments and potential administrations.

The Office of Government Relations (OGR) is closely monitoring both situations and will continue to provide updates to the Duke community on developments relevant to University activities.



Before adjourning for the annual August recess, the House and Senate Appropriations Committees passed all twelve individual spending bills out of committee, but only a handful had been debated or passed on the floor of either chamber. None have been signed into law. As of now, Congressional leaders have yet to indicate a realistic path to a legislative solution, but are widely expected to move forward with either an Omnibus, Continuing Resolution, or a combination of both.

An omnibus would combine several or all of the twelve spending bills in one legislative package. Through an omnibus, Congress would have the ability and flexibility to allocate funding levels which may have been already determined in various committees, but not yet agreed to by the Senate and/or House. A Continuing Resolution (CR) would maintain the current funding levels for a specified amount of time, such as through the election or into 2017.

In conversations with members of the North Carolina delegation and staff, there is a high level of uncertainty over which path leadership will choose. OGR staff will continue to closely watch the appropriations process and provide updates as new information becomes available and decisions are made.

For an overview of the Congressional appropriations process, visit the OGR blog entitled “Where the Rubber Meets the Road.”

As the Presidential campaign enters its final two months, the candidates are continuing to release policy statements and position papers on a wide variety of issues affecting higher education. Meanwhile, they are continuing to expand their staffing organizations, while simultaneously preparing for potential transitions to the White House.

In early August, Duke University joined with members of the academic, research, and business communities in sending a letter to both the Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump campaigns, urging the candidates to support policies and positions that would promote research funding, immigration reform, and other policies affecting higher education.

Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump have both highlighted a number of issues that would impact the university community including investments in research, student aid and immigration. OGR staff is closely monitoring positions by the candidates as they evolve and are actively participating in dialogue with the campaigns to best represent Duke’s interests.

Likewise, as the campaigns continue to expand their staffing operations, OGR staff are watching who is advising the candidates on various issues. Of course, OGR staff are keeping an eye on those advisors with Duke connections and who would likely become officials in the White House or key agencies.

On Aug. 24, Monmouth University released polling figures for the President, Senatorial and gubernatorial races in North Carolina.