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Federal Relations Update from AAU - Dec. 4, 2013

AAU, APLU, AIA URGE GOVERNORS TO OPPOSE SEQUESTRATION, DETAIL IMPACTS IN EACH STATE

AAU, the Aerospace Industries Association (AIA), and the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU) have written individualized letters to each of the 50 state governors urging them to continue to communicate with their congressional delegations about the negative effects of the federal budget sequester on their states.  (A document with all 50 letters can be viewed here.)

Each of the letters details the economic costs of the sequester in that state, including loss of gross state product, numbers of jobs lost, and lost wages, as well as the harmful effects on higher education institutions in the state.  For the state of Maryland, for example, the loss in state domestic product is an estimated $11.5 billion, with 4,062 jobs lost and $5.9 billion in lost wages.  For the U.S. overall, George Mason University economist Stephen Fuller estimates that sequestration will cost the U.S. economy $215 billion, 2.14 million jobs, and $109 billion in lost wages. 

Members of the CFR are encouraged to use these letters and information in communications with their governors and congressional delegations. 


GROUP OF 470 ORGANIZATIONS CALLS ON CONGRESS TO ELIMINATE SEQUESTER

Under the auspices of NDD United, a group of 470 organizations today sent a letter to every Member of Congress urging them to replace sequestration with a “bipartisan, balanced approach to deficit reduction.”  AAU signed on to the letter. 

The letter says that funding for the nondefense discretionary (NDD) portion of the federal budget has dropped by nearly 18 percent in inflation-adjusted dollars since 2010 levels, “bring[ing] funding for NDD programs as a share of our economy to the lowest level on record, with data going back to 1976.”   


TASK FORCE ON AMERICAN INNOVATION URGES RELIEF FROM SEQUESTER

The Task Force on American Innovation (TFAI), a group in which AAU participates, sent a letter to the co-chairs of the FY14 budget conference committee urging them to reach an agreement that “provides relief from the sequester and helps close our nation’s innovation deficit by ensuring sustained and robust support for scientific research and STEM education.”  The letter goes on to say. “The many companies, universities, and scientific societies represented by the Task Force agree that unless we change course, America’s role as the world innovation leader will be in danger and our future prospects for economic growth bleak.”


PRESS CONFERENCE ON DECEMBER 2 FOCUSED ON SEQUESTER’S HARM TO U.S. WORKFORCE 

AAU President Hunter Rawlings joined a group of association leaders in education, business, healthcare, and manufacturing at a press conference on December 2 to discuss the consequences of sequestration budget cuts on America’s workforce.  The goal was to report on how the current and future strength of the U.S. workforce “will be diminished without a responsible solution to the nation’s fiscal challenges.”

The session featured Northrop Grumman CEO Wes Bush, who chairs the Aerospace Industries Association; Dorothy Coleman of the National Association of Manufacturers; Ian Steff of the Semiconductor Industry Association; and Emily Holubowich of the Coalition for Health Funding and NDD United.  Also attending were representatives of APLU, the Business-Higher Education Forum, the Task Force on American Innovation, Texas Instruments, and UT-Battelle, Manager of Oak Ridge National Laboratory. 

President Rawlings’s remarks are available here;  the Aerospace Industries Association has posted this event overview on its website.   

 

 

 

 

AAU SUBMITS RESPONSE TO PRESIDENT’S PROPOSED COLLEGE RATING SYSTEM   

 

Earlier this week, AAU submitted a comment letter to the Department of Education on the President’s “Plan to Make College More Affordable: A Better Bargain for the Middle Class,” released last August.  The association’s comments focus on the “Paying for Performance” section of the plan, which calls for creating a new college rating system by 2015 and linking it to federal student aid by 2018.  

 

In preparing the comment letter, AAU staff consulted with AAU institutional research officers and other campus experts. Those individuals provided advice on the reliability, validity, and methodological limitations of the metrics proposed in the President’s plan related to access, affordability, and outcomes.

 

 

SENATORS WYDEN AND THUNE CIRCULATE LETTER SUPPORTING CHARITABLE DEDUCTION

 

Senators Ron Wyden (D-OR) and John Thune (R-SD) are circulating for signatures by other Senators the attached letter on the unique value of the charitable tax deduction.  The letter, which is addressed to Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-MT) and Ranking Member Orrin Hatch (R-UT), says:

 

“The charitable deduction is unique.  It is the only provision that encourages taxpayers to give away a portion of their income for the benefit of others.  For this reason, it is not a loophole, but a lifeline for millions of Americans in need.  Analysis has repeatedly shown that proposals to cut, cap, or limit the charitable deduction could cause charitable donations to decline by billions of dollars annually.  Worse yet, weakening the charitable deduction would most hurt the adults and children who receive vital charitable services from organizations like soup kitchens, after-school programs, and medical research projects, just to name a few.  In many cases, the government would be required to step in and fund those services now being provided through private generosity.  Accordingly, preserving the charitable deduction is also prudent as a matter of broader fiscal policy.”

 

The deadline for signatures is Thursday, December 12th.  The contacts for endorsing the letter are Todd Metcalf (Todd_Metcalf@wyden.senate.gov) of Senator Wyden’s office and Paul Poteet (Paul_Poteet@thune.senate.gov) of Senator Thune’s office.

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