Government Relations

Government Relations Legislative Update

Government Relations Legislative Update

Updates on state and federal issues relating to the UW System.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Federal Update

Congressional Schedule

Congress remains in recess.  The Senate will return on Monday, September 13 and the House on Tuesday, September 14.

Stem Cell Research

Federal District Court Judge Royce C. Lamberth issued a preliminary injunction prohibiting the federal government from funding any and all human embryonic stem cell research. He ruled that two adult stem cell researchers, James L. Sherley of the Boston Biomedical Research Institute and Theresa Deisher of AVM Biotechnology, who are challenging the Administration's policy, have the legal standing to pursue their lawsuit that contends that embryonic stem cell research violates the so called Dickey-Wicker provision. The Dickey-Wicker provision bars funding for "research in which a human embryo or embryos are destroyed, discarded, or knowingly subjected to risk of injury or death greater than that allowed for research on fetuses in utero research" and is included in the annual Labor-HHS appropriations bill. The HHS General Counsel in the past has said that while procurement experiments might violate Dickey-Wicker, research on stem cells already derived could be legally funded. If the decision is upheld, even the more restrictive Bush Administration's policies on embryonic stem cell research may be rendered illegal. The decision is available at:

NASA Reauthorization Act of 2010

Prior to the August recess, the full Senate and the House Science and Technology Committee approved their respective versions of the bill (S. 3729, H.R. 5781).  That progress came after months of debate in Congress and the space community over the future direction of NASA.   Both bills authorize three years of funding for the space agency and its programs.  FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE GO TO THE FOLLOWING chart that compares the House and Senate versions of the NASA Authorization Act of 2010 (S. 3729, H.R. 5781).

Health Care Implementation

The College and University Professional Association for Human Resources (CUPA-HR) has scheduled a webinar with senior White House officials for members of the higher education to address regulations and the timetable for implementation for the recently adopted health care legislation.  The webinar is scheduled for September 9 at 3 PM EDT.  (UW System staff can come to Room 1764 Van Hise to participate in the online webinar.)  

Dr. Cora Marrett Nominated Deputy Director of the National Science Foundation

The White House has nominated Dr. Cora B. Marrett, currently serving as Acting Director for the National Science Foundation, to be the Deputy Director for the agency. Dr. Marrett's nomination will require Senate confirmation. She has previously served as Assistant Director for Education and Human Resources and Assistant Director for Social, Behavioral, and Economic Sciences at NSF, and as Sr. Vice President of Academic Affairs at UW System.  
President Obama Speech on Higher Education

On August 9, President Obama delivered a major speech on higher education at the University of Texas at Austin.   FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE GO TO

Gainful Employment Proposed Regulations Released

The Department recently released the analysis that helped inform its proposed regulation providing a standard for for-profit and occupational postsecondary programs to demonstrate that they prepare students for "gainful employment."  Your comments should be submitted to the UW System Office of Federal Relations and the Office of Budget and Planning (Kris Frederick).  FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE GO TO

Jobs Bill

The President has signed into law a bill providing $26 billion to states: $10 billion to support an estimated 160,000 education jobs ( and $16 billion to help fund Medicaid budgets.  The application and guidance for states under the Education Jobs Fund have been sent to governors and is available on the Department's web site.  Wisconsin Governor Jim Doyle has acted quickly to submit Wisconsin's application (the statutory deadline is September 9). 

Department of Education Discretionary Grant Programs

 Through September 7, the Department is soliciting comments on the Department of Education's priorities for discretionary grant programs.  There are 13 proposed priorities (from improving early learning outcomes to improving productivity) that the agency may use as appropriate for discretionary grant competitions in Fiscal Year 2011 and future years.  Your comments should be submitted to the UW System Office of Federal Relations.  FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE GO TO

Attention Research Administrators

On August 25, at 2:00 p.m. Eastern Time, the Department is offering a webinar on subrecipient monitoring.  This presentation will provide recipients and subrecipients of Department of Education grants an overview of this agency's subrecipient monitoring policies, emphasizing requirements under the Department's own General Administrative Regulations (EDGAR), the Office of Management and Budget's (OMB) A-133 Circular and Compliance Supplement, and new requirements under the ARRA.  Agency staff and state-level representatives will spotlight several monitoring best practices in use by grantees that have proven both effective in ensuring compliance and cost-efficient, including using a risk-based monitoring approach, performing financial risk assessments, and using web-based monitoring.  FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE GO TO

Also, on August 31, also at 2:00 p.m. Eastern Time, the Department is offering another webinar: "ED's OCFO Recaps Cash Management Requirements for Recipients of Grants and Cooperative Agreements."  FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE GO TO

UW System Responds to Congressional Earmarks Request

UW System President Kevin Reilly responded to an information request related to Congressional earmarks.  FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE GO TO:

U.S. Department of Commerce Announces Federal Broadband Grant

The U.S. Department of Commerce announced that Wisconsin will receive more than $38 million in Broadband Technology Opportunities Program grants funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), also known as the stimulus.  Approximately $29.9 million in stimulus funding will help expand broadband connections for public safety agencies, health care providers, schools and community organizations in the Chippewa Valley region, Platteville, Superior and Wausau through a program coordinated by the University of Wisconsin-Extension.  Another $2.4 million stimulus grant through the University of Wisconsin-Extension will focus on providing education and outreach through new community computer centers and a program to encourage use by farmers, senior citizens, tribes, students and the unemployed. 

Federal Student Support Services Grants Announced

Twenty-two colleges and universities throughout Wisconsin have been awarded TRIO Student Support Services grants totaling $7,337,627, offering first generation, low income and disabled students access to programs that will help them succeed in college.  UW System schools receiving federal funding include:

  • University of Wisconsin - Superior - $301,692
  • University of Wisconsin - Eau Claire – $610,620
  • University of Wisconsin - Stout – $576,841
  • University of Wisconsin – Madison - $301,692
  • University of Wisconsin – La Crosse - $389,872
  • University of Wisconsin – Platteville – $377,817
  • University of Wisconsin – Oshkosh - $397,972
  • University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee - $316,026
  • University of Wisconsin – Parkside - $300,038
  • University of Wisconsin – River Falls - $301,689
  • University of Wisconsin-Rock County – figure unavailable
(AAU, APLU, U.S. DOE, and the UW System Office of Federal Relations contributed to this update.)