Government Relations

Government Relations Legislative Update

Government Relations Legislative Update

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

Monday, July 25, 2011

Federal Update for July 25, 2011

The House reconvenes today, July 25, 2011, and it is scheduled to begin consideration of the FY12 Interior-Environment appropriations bill (H.R. 2584).  UW System is following this bill closely as the House Appropriations Committee cut 25% from the Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Units program which funds two units in Wisconsin:  one headquartered at the UW-Stevens Point and one headquartered at the UW-Madison.  Later in the week, the chamber also may take up legislation to prohibit the National Labor Relations Board from blocking Boeing's decision to relocate a factory to South Carolina (H.R. 2587).

The Senate also reconvenes, and will consider nominations.  The legislative calendar has not been announced. Last week, the Senate voted down the House-passed "Cut, Cap, and Balance Act (H.R. 2560) on party line vote of 46 to 51.  The measure would make $5.8 trillion in spending cuts and bar an increase in the debt limit unless Congress has approved a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution.  The bill, based on a framework developed by the conservative Republican Study Committee, was passed by the House on July 19 on a largely party-line vote of 234 to 190. 

With the August 2 deadline for raising the national debt limit fast approaching, there is no clear path to a deal that would address the deficit and raise the debt ceiling.  (See letter Sr. Vice President for Administration Michael Morgan sent to State Budget Director Brian Hayes regarding the impact on UW System of possible federal spending reductions due to the debt limit.)

House Appropriations Committee Chairman Harold Rogers (R-KY) has postponed to September marking up the last two of the committee's 12 spending bills for FY12:  Labor-HHS-Education and Transportation-HUD, according to   The publication notes that the panel has allocated most of the panel's overall FY12 spending cuts to these two bills, along with State-Foreign Operations. notes that any overall deficit reduction/debt ceiling deal would likely change the level of FY12 discretionary spending the committee has been working with, and that the overall budget debate has "used up all of the logistical and political oxygen at the Capitol."  

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) today released an Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPRM) on protection of human subjects used in research. This represents a major revision of the Common Rule and is part of the Administration's effort to improve and reduce regulations.

Comment is sought on the following:
1.      Revising the existing risk-based framework to more accurately calibrate the level of review to the level of risk.

2.      Using a single Institutional Review Board review for all domestic sites of multi-site studies.

3.      Updating the forms and processes used for informed consent.

4.      Establishing mandatory data security and information protection standards for all studies involving identifiable or potentially identifiable data.

5.      Implementing a systematic approach to the collection and analysis of data on unanticipated problems and adverse events across all trials to harmonize the complicated array of definitions and reporting requirements, and to make the collection of data more efficient.

6.      Extending federal regulatory protections to apply to all research conducted at U.S. institutions receiving funding from the Common Rule.

Once the proposed rule is published in the Federal Register, the public will have 60 days to comment on it.  

University consortia and individual investigators are encouraged to submit white papers and full funding proposals to the Minerva Initiative, the Department of Defense's competitive, university-based social science basic research program.  Because of a delay in releasing the funding solicitation, program managers have extended the deadline for white paper submissions to Friday, September 16, 2011, and the deadline for full proposals to Tuesday, November 22, 2011.  

The Minerva Initiative was created in 2008 under the leadership of former Defense Secretary Robert Gates as a means to improve our fundamental understanding of the social, cultural, behavioral, and political forces that shape regions of the world of strategic importance to the U.S.

The Minerva Initiative is inviting white papers and full proposals for basic research in the following seven areas:

(1)    Strategic Impact of Religious and Cultural Changes

(2)    Terrorism and Terrorist Ideologies

(3)    Science, Technology and Military Transformations in China and Developing States

(4)    National Security Implications of Energy and Environmental Stress

(5)    New Theories of Cross-Domain Deterrence

(6)    Regime and Social Dynamics in Failed, Failing, and Fragile Authoritarian States

(7)    New Approaches to Understanding Dimensions of National Security, Conflict, and Cooperation