November 12 , 2007
In this issue:
After recognizing the Veterans’ Day holiday on Monday, Congress will face a busy schedule in the run-up to the Thanksgiving recess. The House could begin work on $50-billion in short-term “bridge” funding for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and may consider conference reports on the FY08 Transportation-HUD appropriations bill (H.R. 3074), the Defense authorization bill (H.R. 1585), and the reauthorization of the Head Start program (H.R. 1429). Also possible is action on legislation to address the subprime mortgage crisis (H.R. 3915).
The Senate’s schedule for the week is focused on the farm bill (H.R. 2419) and consideration of the supplementary defense funding for Iraq and Afghanistan In addition, the conference reports on the FY08 Transportation-HUD funding bill and the reauthorization of Head Start could see floor time.
Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions marks up legislation on tuberculosis (S 1551), newborn health screening (S 1858), childhood cancer (S 911), removal of chimpanzees from the system for research purposes (S 1916),
HEARINGS AND MEETINGS OF NOTE
- House Education and Labor Committee
College Opportunity and Affordability
Full committee markup of the "College Opportunity and Affordability Act of 2007."
- FDA Vaccines/Biological Products Regulatory Issues
Health and Human Services Department (HHS); Food and Drug Administration (FDA)
Meeting of the Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee to hear updates of the research programs in: The Laboratory of Method Development, Division of Viral Products, Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research, FDA; and the Laboratory of Mycobacterial Diseases & Cellular Immunology, Division of Bacterial Parasitic & Allergenic Products, Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research, FDA.
Location: National Institutes of Health, Building 29B, Conference Rooms A/B, Bethesda, Md..
- Nurse Education
Health and Human Services Department (HHS); Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA)
Meeting of the National Advisory Council on Nurse Education and Practice, to review teaching and learning strategies for future nursing students and nursing competencies required by employers and consumers.
Location: Doubletree Executive Hotel and Meeting Center, 8120 Wisconsin Ave., Bethesda, Md..
- HHS Cancer Programs and Budget
Health and Human Services Department (HHS); National Institutes of Health (NIH)
Meeting of the National Cancer Institute Board of Scientific Advisors, November 15-16. Agenda includes: Director's Report: Ongoing and New Business; Reports of Program Review Group(s); and Budget Presentation; Reports of Special Initiatives; RFA and RFP Concept Reviews; and Scientific Presentations
Location: National Institutes of Health, Building 31, 31 Center Drive, 6th Floor, Conference Room 10, Bethesda, Md.
[Back to Top]
As previously reported, the Chairman of the House Education and Labor Committee, George Miller (D-CA) introduced a five-year reauthorization of higher education programs. The higher education associations in Washington were urging opposition to the bill for numerous reasons, including the extremely short time allowed for interpreting the impact of the bill prior to markup.
The Committee will amend and vote on the legislation Wednesday. A full report on those actions will be sent separately.
[Back to Top]
HIGHER EDUCATION REGULATIONS
In a Federal Register notice (http://www.ed.gov/legislation/FedRegister/proprule/2007-4/102207a.html), the Department of Education declared its intention to establish one or two negotiated rulemaking committees to prepare proposed regulations for changes made by the College Cost Reduction and Access Act to Title IV of the Higher Education Act. For more information, please go to http://www.ed.gov/policy/highered/reg/hearulemaking/2008/index2008.html.
In addition, the Department published in the Federal Register three regulatory packages implementing changes to current federal student aid regulations. First, it published final regulations for Academic Competitiveness and National Science and Mathematics Access to Retain Talent (SMART) grants (http://www.ed.gov/legislation/FedRegister/finrule/2007-4/102907a.html). Second, it published final regulations for the Federal Perkins Loan, Federal Family Education Loan, and William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan programs (http://www.ed.gov/legislation/FedRegister/finrule/2007-4/110107a.html), addressing, among other items, preferred lender lists, prohibited inducements, and "total and permanent disability" discharge. Third, it published final regulations for general provisions (http://www.ed.gov/legislation/FedRegister/finrule/2007-4/110107b.html). All of the regulations become effective on July 1, 2008. For more information, please go to http://www.ed.gov/news/pressreleases/2007/11/11012007.html.
[Back to Top]
On other Appropriations fronts, the President has signed the FY08 Defense appropriations bill. Overall, the bill includes $77.27 billion for Research, Development, Test and Evaluation (RDT&E). This is an increase of $1.32 billion, or 1.7 percent, above the FY07 level, and $2.15 billion, or 2.9 percent, above the Administration’s FY08 request. As previously reported, a cap on indirect cost reimbursement for Defense basic research is included in the bill but at a less onerous rate. The bill creates a 35-percent cap on the amount of an overall grant that can comprise indirect costs, not on negotiated rates as originally proposed.
[Back to Top]
The House has approved the Temporary Tax Relief Act of 2007 (H.R. 3996) by a vote of 216-193. Among other provisions, the bill would extend the above-the-line deduction for qualified tuition and related expenses and extend the IRA charitable rollover, which allows certain Individual Retirement Account (IRA) owners to make charitable deductions from their IRAs directly to eligible charities. Both provisions are set to expire at the end of this year. A third higher education-related provision would allow tax-exempt organizations, such as universities, to invest directly in domestic hedge funds without incurring the Unrelated Business Income Tax (UBIT).
H.R. 3996 is controversial because it would cover its $78 billion cost, in part, by raising taxes on the compensation of executives at hedge funds and private-equity firms. Senate Republicans are opposed to these tax increases and the White House has said the President would veto the bill if it includes tax increases.
[Back to Top]
While Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-MT) is adamant about staving off a scheduled 10-percent reduction of physician payments under Medicare for two years, at least one fellow committee Democrat is siding with republicans on limiting the fix to just one year. The debate centers around which programs to cut in order to pay for the physician payment fix. Topping the list of difficult offsets for Republicans is a proposed cut of extra payments to private Medicare Advantage plans.
[Back to Top]
2008 NIH Director’s New Innovator Award Program (DP2)
Request For Applications (RFA) Number: RFA-RM-08-014
Release/Posted Date: November 9, 2007
Opening Date: March 3, 2008 (Earliest date an application may be submitted to Grants.gov)
Letters of Intent Receipt Date(s): Not applicable.
Application Submission/Receipt Date: March 31, 2008
Peer Review Date(s): May-June, 2008
Advisory Council to the Director Review Date: August 2008
Earliest Anticipated Start Date: September 30, 2008
Additional Information To Be Available Date (Activation Date): October 24, 2007 - Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) at http://grants.nih.gov/grants/new_investigators/innovator_award/faq_2008.htm
Expiration Date: April 1, 2008
The NIH Director’s New Innovator Award (http://grants.nih.gov/grants/new_investigators/innovator_award/) was created in 2007 to support a small number of new investigators of exceptional creativity who propose bold and highly innovative new research approaches that have the potential to produce a major impact on broad, important problems in biomedical and behavioral research. The research proposed need not be in a conventional biomedical or behavioral discipline but must be relevant to the mission of NIH. The New Innovator Awards complement ongoing efforts by NIH and its institutes and centers to fund new investigators through R01 grants, which continue to be the major sources of NIH support for new investigators. Thirty New Innovator Awards were made in 2007.
Full announcement at: http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/rfa-files/RFA-RM-08-014.html.
[Back to Top]