To: AASCU Government Relations Staff
From: Ed Elmendorf, Sr. Vice President for Government Relations and Policy Analysis
Robert Moran, Director of Federal Relations and Policy Analysis
Blakely Whilden, Assistant Director of Federal Relations and Policy Analysis
Re: Weekly Update—Week of May 9, 2011
Date: May 13, 2011
On Wednesday, May 11, Senators Durbin (D-IL), Menendez (D-NJ), and Reid (D-NV) introduced the DREAM Act, S. 952. At the same time, Rep. Howard Berman (D-CA) introduced a companion bill in the House. The bills introduced on Wednesday are similar to the bill introduced by Senators Durbin and Lugar at the start of the 111th Congress. The bills would provide certain undocumented youth who have been in the US for at least 5 years, have good moral character, complete high school or earn their GED, and complete two years of college or military service the opportunity to apply for permanent legal status. Additionally, the bill includes a repeal of the ban on in-state tuition for undocumented students.
While we do not expect the DREAM Act to pass during this Congress, President Obama renewed his call for comprehensive immigration reform in a speech in El Paso, TX on Tuesday. The text of his speech can be found here.
AASCU will continue to work with the higher education community and other advocacy partners to pass the DREAM Act, either as a stand-alone bill or as part of a package, in the 112th Congress.
House 302(b) allocations
Also on Wednesday, the House Appropriations Committee Chairman, Hal Rogers (KY), announced both the FY12 allocations for each of the 12 appropriations subcommittees and provided a tentative timeline for completing each bill. One will note that the allocation for the Labor, HHS, and Education Subcommittee is over $18 billion less than the recently agreed to FY11 level. This funding level raises significant concerns regarding the ability to adequately fund NIH and the Pell Grant Program. While Chairman Rogers anticipates the Committee completing all 12 bills before the August recess, his timeframe allows for all but the last three listed to be passed by the House of Representatives before the August break.
Pell Dear Colleague Letter
The office of Rep. Judy Chu is seeking signatures on a “Dear Colleague” letter in support of maintaining the $5,550 maximum Pell Grant award in FY12. AASCU encourages its members to contact their House Member’s office to request that they sign on to Rep. Chu’s letter. Institutions should be equipped with how many Pell students attend their institution and the amount of funds received in order to better inform their Member’s office. The letter is attached. Deadline for signatures is Thursday, May 19.