Welcome to Federal Policy Week, a blog that covers federal policy developments in education, research, science, agriculture, immigration, energy, environment, natural resources, and intellectual property. 

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Capitol News:  Appropriations, Budget, and Sequestration

Congressional, Administrative

CONGRESS: Immigration, Internet in Schools and Libraries; Hearings

ADMINISTRATION & INDEPENDENT AGENCIES:  President’s Budget; NSF Director; ED Commitment

Noteworthy News: Fighting Sequester

In the Know: A Preview of Upcoming Events in DC.

Capitol News.

  • Appropriations, Budget, and Sequestration: For more details on the appropriations bills and budget see the Federal Policy Week posting Funding Fights.  Since that posting, the Senate FY13 Appropriations bill went to the Senate floor, only to face obstacles over votes on amendments.  The Senate staff worked the weekend to try to resolve the impasse and bring a final bill to the floor on Monday, so the Senate and House can reconcile and pass final bills before the CR expires on March 27, 2013. For more on specific impacts of the sequestration on education see the Federal Policy Week posting Budget Blues.


  • Immigration. The eight Senators working on a bipartisan, comprehensive immigration bill plan to release a draft in April.  In the meantime, details begin leaking out.  One “trade” being discussed is eliminating some extended family visas (unmarried children older than 21 and married adult children and siblings) while increasing visas for highly skilled workers, as reported by The Washington Post.  Further, higher visa fees and fines are reportedly being discussed as part of the deal, according to The Wall Street Journal.  The fees would be used to offset the overhaul of the laws.
  • Internet for Schools & Libraries.  In a recent hearing on the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), Senator Rockefeller (D-WV), Chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee, said that the E-Rate program should be modified and expanded to ensure schools and libraries have greater internet access.  As reported in The New York Times, these changes to the multi-billion program are already endorsed to some degree by FCC Chairman Genachowski.

Upcoming Congressional Hearings

House Science:

  1. Subcommittee on Research – STEM Education: Industry and Philanthropic Initiatives (THIS HEARING TOOK PLACE ALREADY)

Senate Judiciary:

  1. How Comprehensive Immigration Reform Should Address the Needs of Women and Families, March 18, 2013
  2. Building an Immigration System Worthy of American Values, March 20, 2013

Administration & Independent Agencies:

  • President’s Budget. The President typically releases his budget the first Monday of February.  The budget is now expected April 8, 2013
  • NSF Director: Dr. Cora Marrett will once again be the Acting Director of the National Science Foundation once Director Suresh departs on March 22, 2013.
  • ED Commitments. According to The Washington Post, Department of Education officials made new commitments at a recent meeting in Amsterdam.  The three new commitments involve supporting the Common Core, creating indicators of student learning for evaluation of teachers, and education equity by working on childhood education.


  • Fighting Sequester.  Universities are working to reverse the cuts that stem from the sequester that went into effect on March 1, 2013.  As The Washington Post reports, universities, like other groups, are lobbying hard to restore cuts that result from sequestration for research and student aid.


Upcoming Events (listed by date):

  1. Brookings, Education Technology: The Next Generation, March 20, 2013
  2. CAP, What Ails the Governance of Public Education and What Can Be Done to Cure It? March 22, 2013
  3. AEI, Common Core meets the Reform Agenda, March 25, 2013

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