As things move quickly in Washington, DC, NACUBO is your constant advocate in action. NACUBO On Your Side covers important legislative and agency activity NACUBO staff are tracking, what we’re currently advocating for, and how you can take action with us.
Here are the issues we are tracking and advocating for this week.
On the Hill
Infrastructure Bill Stalls in New Year
The Build Back Better Act appears to be at a standstill after failing to obtain the support of all 50 Democratic senators. The package, which was the subject of months of negotiation among Democrats, contained significant support for higher education. Some of the most critical higher education provisions included new funding for community colleges, Historically Black Colleges and Universities, Tribal Colleges and Universities, and Minority-serving Institutions; as well as funds for research and development, campus infrastructure needs, a new workforce development grant program, and other direct institutional aid; and several important higher education tax changes. While individual portions of the bill may still independently advance in separate legislation, Democratic leaders have confirmed that debate on the bill as a whole has ceased for now.
State Department Modifies International Student Requirements
Following requests made by NACUBO and other higher education associations to provide flexibilities for students and scholars displaced by the current crisis in Afghanistan, the State Department has updated language in the Foreign Affairs Manual defining nonimmigrant intent as it applies to all international students. Previously, students had to demonstrate intent to return to their home countries upon completion of their program as a condition of visa approval, which was difficult for many displaced Afghani students who no longer had a home country. The updated language now indicates that “the applicant’s intent is to be adjudicated based on present intent – not on contingencies of what might happen in the future, after a lengthy period of study in the United States.”
Supreme Court Begins Vaccine Mandate Arguments
The Supreme Court began hearing oral arguments related to federal COVID-19 vaccination requirements on January 7. Specifically, the Court is slated to hear arguments pertaining to the OSHA emergency temporary standard requirements for employers with 100 employees or more, and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services rule pertaining to staff working for Medicare- or Medicaid-certified providers. This set of arguments is not scheduled to address the vaccine requirements for federal contractors, which is also in the midst of ongoing litigation.
NACUBO On Your Side: December 7–13, 2021