Federal Updates

Check back often for updates on changes in federal policy as they become available.

Latest Developments on Proposal to Restrict F&A Payments

August 2017 Update:  COGR joined with over 100 other organizations Monday on a letter to Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney and Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price to oppose the proposed cuts to NIH funding and facilities and administrative (F&A) costs in the Administration's FY18 budget. 

Among other things, the letter states that "If the Administration’s proposal to reduce NIH support for F&A moves forward, it will make research unaffordable for many institutions and ultimately lead to less research carried out across the country", and that "the economic impact could also be significant; communities will lose jobs, and the country will fall behind as our foreign competitors forge ahead in medical research. These consequences will hurt patients, scientists, and all Americans."

*Sent to COGR Listserv 8/24/17

June 2017:  The President's proposed budget for NIH for FY 18 includes a provision to limit Facilities and Administrative cost payments to 10% of the total amount awarded.  COGR is working with our colleagues in Washington and at our member institutions across the country to inform members of Congress, the Administration, Foundations, patient advocacy groups, and industry of the devastating impact such a cut in funding would have on the research enterprise.

The COGR letter is posted here, but institutions are encouraged to personalize letters for specific institutional impacts (i.e. funding amount lost, labs closed, research cut short, etc.)

For Director Mulvaney, letters can be sent to ombdirector@omb.eop.gov.

For Secretary Price, send letters to secretary@hhs.gov.  Please copy the COGR office at dkennedy@cogr.edu and AAU at FandAcomments@aau.edu.

Click here for additional information on F&A.

*Originally reported in June 8-9, 2017 COGR Meeting Report

Dramatic Reductions in the President's FY 18 Proposed Budget for Research

June 2017:  At the June COGR meeting, Matt Hourihan, Director of the AAAS Research and Development Budget and Policy Program, provided details for all Federal science departments and agencies in the President's FY 18 budget request, which includes a 21% reduction for NIH and an 11% reduction for NSF.  However, Congress takes very seriously its constitutional responsibility for federal agency appropriations, and during recent Congressional hearings many key members of Congress from both parties expressed their dismay at the proposed cuts to research at NIH and NSF.  We will update the COGR membership as additional information develops.

 *Originally reported in June 8-9, 2017 COGR Meeting Report

April 19 Update From OMB

(As sent to COGR Listserv):  

Regulatory Reform

On January 30th, the president signed an executive order to reduce regulations and regulatory costs. The executive order and associated OMB memorandum to agencies are available at: https://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2017/01/30/presidential-executive-order-reducing-regulation-and-controlling and https://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/whitehouse.gov/files/omb/memoranda/2017/M-17-21-OMB.pdf.


On February 24th, the president signed a related executive order to enforce regulatory reform in order to lower regulatory burdens available at: https://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2017/02/24/presidential-executive-order-enforcing-regulatory-reform-agenda


Comprehensive Plan for Reorganizing the Executive Branch

On March 13th, the president signed an executive order directing OMB to propose a plan to reorganize and reform the government to improve the efficiency, effectiveness, and accountability of the executive branch. The executive order and associated OMB memorandum are available at: https://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2017/03/13/presidential-executive-order-comprehensive-plan-reorganizing-executive and https://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/whitehouse.gov/files/omb/memoranda/2017/m-17-22.pdf.


To make sure that voices of the American people are heard, the White House is soliciting suggestions from the public at this website https://whitehouse.gov/reorganizing-the-executive-branch and we are encouraging grants community participation. These comments will be considered in the development of Agency Reform Plans.

Addressing Concerns Over F&A

April 5, 2017:  COGR Addresses Concerns Over F&A to COGR Membership


Regulatory Freeze

January 27, 2017:  On January 20, the  White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus issued a memorandum to all executive departments and agencies to freeze new or pending regulations -- giving the new administration time to review them. The memo asks that the agencies not  send any regulation to the Federal Register until reviewed by someone selected by the President.  For those that have been sent but not published, the White House ordered the regulations withdrawn.   For regulations that have been published but have not reached their effective date, the memo postpones the effective date for 60 days pending review -- with a potential that a new notice for reopening the regulation could occur.  The memo makes an exception for "critical health, safety, financial, or national security matters," and asks agencies to identify any regulations that can't be delayed for other reasons.  See the link below for a spreadsheet showing the regulations impacting research issued in 2016 that could be affected by this regulatory freeze, or pending legislation that would similarly require suspension or withdrawal of recent regulations.

Impact of Federal Regulatory Freeze on Research Regulations

January 24, 2017.  The Office of Management and Budget has released a notice in the Federal Register to the Heads of Departments and Agencies regarding a freeze on pending regulations.


Award Restrictions

January 30, 2017:  On January 26, the EPA lifted restrictions on grants made to states.  As reported by USA Today:

"EPA spokesman Doug Ericksen said Thursday that an internal review of about $3.8 billion in grants the agency annually sends to states for basic environmental programs such as clean air and water monitoring has been completed.  “We finished our review process,” said Ericksen, a GOP State Sen. from Washington who is temporarily acting as the agency’s spokesman. “As of now, nothing has been delayed. Nothing has been cut. There was simply a pause and everything’s up and running.”

January 27, 2017:  On January 23, the EPA was directed to "freeze" grants and contracts. This clearly applies to issuance of new awards, but it was not clear whether it applies to spending on existing awards. The latest information now being reported is that the freeze does not apply to existing grants and contracts. 

This is what was reported by Reuters news:

"The agency was asked by the White House on Monday to temporarily halt all contracts and grants pending a review, according to multiple sources. The EPA awards billions of dollars worth of grants and contracts every year to support programs around environmental testing, cleanups and research. "EPA staff have been reviewing grants and contracts information with the incoming transition team," EPA spokeswoman Julia Valentine said in a statement. "The goal is to complete the grants and contracts review by the close of business on Friday, Jan. 27."


Legislative Updates

February 14, 2017 -  A number of bills recently signed into law include provisions aimed at reducing research regulatory burden, including the CURES Act, the American Innovation and Competitiveness Act, and a provision of the National Defense Authorization Act.  See COGR's February Update and the presentation slides from the February 23-24 meeting in Washington DC for more information.

January 10, 2017 - COGR Releases Matrix of Recent Legislative Actions Taken to Reduce Regulatory Burden

Legislative Matrix


Communication Restrictions

Click here to be redirected to the Sunlight Foundation and keep up to date with the latest status of communication restrictions on federal agencies.