What’s Going on With Budget Reconciliation, and Why Should Higher Ed Care?


​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Aired Sept. 23, 2021

The fate of two new spending plans—the bipartisan infrastructure bill and the separate $3.5 trillion budget reconciliation bill designed to advance the Biden administration’s other priorities, including for higher education—remains uncertain as we open the new season of dotEDU. ACE Senior Vice President Terry Hartle and dotEDU host Sarah Spreitzer unpack where Congress stands on reconciliation and what it means for students and institutions. They also discuss efforts to enhance research security and the ability of the United States to compete with China and what the higher education community wants Washington to do to help Afghan students and scholars.​

This season, we’ll continue our conversations with leaders in the higher education policy sphere, but in a crossover with the ACE Public Policy Pop Up, every other episode will feature Terry Hartle in an in-depth discussion of recent policy developments in Washington. Watch this page for more information about the Pop Up, a free live event held monthly, or email podcast@acenet.edu to be added to the mailing list to receive a link to register when its available.  ​

Here are some of the links and references from this week’s show:

House Committee Approves Substantial Increases for Higher Education Programs, Student Aid in Reconciliation Bill

Dems Fear Biden’s Domestic Agenda Could Implode
Politico | Sept. 21, 2021

Tensions Spike Over New Research-Security Proposals Targeting China
National Journal | Sept. 16, 2021

Statement by ACE President Ted Mitchell on Supporting Afghan Students and Scholars (Aug. 19)

More Universities, Higher Ed Groups Step Up To Help Afghan Refugees
Forbes | Aug. 29, 2021


 Read this episode's transcript

Jon Fansmith: Hello, and welcome to a brand new season of dotEDU, the higher education policy podcast from the American Council on Education. In our new season, we'll be continuing our conversations with higher education news makers. But in addition, once a month, we'll be welcoming ACE Senior Vice President, Terry Hartle, to the podcast in a crossover with ACE's Public Policy Pop-Up to discuss key issues of the day in Washington. I'm joined this week by my co-host, Mushtaq Gunja, and Sarah Spreitzer. Sarah, you were on with Terry this week, and I know you covered pretty much everything under the sun, but how did that conversation go?

Sarah Spreitzer: It was good, maybe we should say special guest, Terry Hartle since he is our esteemed senior vice president.

Jon Fansmith: And he's a very special person.

Sarah Spreitzer: Yeah. There's a lot going on, Jon as folks will hear in this podcast, but we were able to touch on reconciliation, what we think might actually happen with all the things that we heard about this week, the CR, and the debt sealing debate, which is going to start I think this week as the House starts considering a continuing resolution. Afghan supplemental, what might happen with China and research security provisions in the National Defense Authorization Act, and the overall China bill and some visa news impacting our international students. So lots of good stuff in there.

Jon Fansmith: And lots of bad stuff too, actually.

Sarah Spreitzer: That's true. I mean, look, we're not at the end of the year yet, so let's have a positive outlook. It's all going to get... Terry kept talking about his favorite phrase is Congress is facing a Rubik's cube on steroids.

Mushtaq Gunja: What's a Rubik's cube on steroids? Is that more than a three by three? Is that like a six by six?

Sarah Spreitzer: Well, it's such a complicated puzzle, right? It's such a complicated puzzle in trying to figure out how you're going to get all the pieces to fit.

Jon Fansmith: I thought it was like they're not playing three dimensional chess now they're playing six dimensional chess or something. You've added a color coding combination to it.

Sarah Spreitzer: Yeah, that's a good way to look at it. But I missed, I know you guys have a podcast coming up after we do this one where you talked to Adam Harris about his new book.

Mushtaq Gunja: Yeah. Jon and I sure did. We had a great conversation with Adam who probably many of our listeners to the podcast know from his work at the Chronicle. Now he writes for the Atlantic and he has a new book out called, The State Must Provide with some incredible research on historical disinvestment and under resourcing of HBCUs and other institutions. So it was cool. Yeah. I really enjoyed it. And I think it's coming out in a couple of weeks on this feed, so make sure you refresh your feed next, well in two weeks, really looking forward to how that conversation came out.

Jon Fansmith: It was, I will, second, it was a great conversation. Adam was incredible to talk with, that episode is scheduled to drop October 7th. So like Mushtaq said, be sure to subscribe to dotEDU and follow this feed for when that refreshes, I think you'll enjoy. And maybe read the book in the intro. You have a couple weeks, it's a great read. So keep an eye out for that. But for now enjoy this conversation between Sarah and Terry Hartle where they covered the good, the bad, and the Rubik's cubes of Washington DC.

Sarah Spreitzer: Good afternoon, everyone. Welcome to our September Public Policy Pop-up. My name is Sarah Spreitzer. I'm filling in today for my colleague Jon Fansmith. And I'm joined by our Senior Vice President, Terry Hartle on this absolutely beautiful day here in Washington, D.C., Terry, there is a whole lot going on, some of which actually happened over this weekend. So let's dive right into it. Would you like to talk a bit about reconciliation? What is in the House bills that we saw marked up last week? What's going to be in the Senate bills and just overall what's the outlook right now?

Terry Hartle: Sure. Well thanks very much, Sarah. Delighted to be here with you today and thanks to everybody who's joined us on the podcast. Let's divide this into substance and the politics of reconciliation. This is an extraordinarily complicated environment that we're working in in terms of both substance and politics. One of the Hill newsletters this morning referred to the current climate in Washington as being like a Rubik's cube on steroid. Well, the Rubik's cube itself, the heart of this of course is the $3.5 trillion reconciliation bill that the Democrats are hoping to enact that would address many of the items put forward by President Biden as part of his American Families Act and his American Jobs Plan. Right now, we know that the House and Senate Democrats have been working very closely together, but we've really only seen legislation emerge in the House, so we can talk a little bit about what's in the House bill. Actually, we can talk quite a bit about what's in the House bill. We're not entirely sure what's going on in the Senate because in the Senate, there are pressure from some moderate Democrats to have a smaller bill than the $3.5 trillion package that's sitting in the House waiting for consideration.

We will would divide the House reconciliation package into four categories. Category number one, student aid. Some of these things are familiar to all of you. The House bill would increase the maximum Pell Grant by $500. This would be the biggest increase in the maximum Pell Grant in the program's history. So it's obviously notable, but it's also a long way from the $1,400 that president Biden proposed in his American Families Plan, and it's an even further away from the president's proposal to double the Pell Grant program. So $500 maximum increase in the Pell. The possibility exists that we could get money in reconciliation for Pell, and we could get more money as part of the 2022 budget process, but that's a separate discussion. The second thing in the higher education area of the House reconciliation bill, funding for historically black college universities and other minority serving institutions for research infrastructure. This was originally proposed to be a $20 billion program. The House has put forward a $2 billion competitive grant program. So a much smaller initiative than what the Biden administration called for. Completion grants, sometimes referred to as retention and completion grants. These are ideas. The effort here is to ensure that not only did students get into post-secondary education, but that they complete their post-secondary education. The president had proposed completion grants to be funded at $63 billion. We're now looking at $9 billion over five years, again, a substantial reduction from what the president initially proposed. Note that even at a billion and a half dollars a year for five years, that's a substantial amount of money. It would mean that the program would be at least the size of the TRIO program. So it's the creation of a big program, but it's a far way short of what the president originally called for. Finally, the bill also includes free community college and two years of subsidized tuition for many students at Historically Black Colleges [and] Universities, and minority serving institutions. So those would be the four higher education specific measures in the House bill that's under consideration.

There are a number of tax provisions that haven't gotten quite as much attention, but that have the possibility to be extraordinarily beneficial to our students. For example, the taxability of Pell Grants would be repealed under the provisions put forward by the House Ways and Means Committee. This is an enormously big deal for low income students, particularly students at community colleges, and it is a high priority for several of the higher education organizations. The second, the tax provisions would repeal the felony drug conviction limitation on eligibility for student aid. Third, a number of bond provisions like advanced refunding bonds and direct payment bonds that would be created that would help institutions, particularly public institutions. And finally, energy efficient construction tax credit included in the House passed bill could be very beneficial to colleges and universities. Fourth provision in the reconciliation bill is more funding for scientific research. The Biden administration had proposed much larger funding. The House bill provides about three and a half billion dollars more funding for the National Science Foundation. That's a huge priority for higher education. It would benefit the nation enormously to invest more heavily in the NIH... Excuse me, NSF basic research. It's always been something of a poorer cousin to the National Institutes of Health, but the work it does is equally important. And finally, the House bill includes about a billion dollars for the Academic Facilities Modernization Act, which would help many college universities with facilities, particularly research related facilities, but not exclusively. So all in all, not as much as the president was talking about, not as much as we were hoping for, but a very substantial piece of legislation that would certainly affect every institution of higher education in the country. $3.5 billion price tag, the political status of this when the House is going to try to move the legislation is an open question as I'll come to in a minute.

In the Senate, as I mentioned earlier, we know that the House and Senate Democratic staff have been working closely together to develop the proposals, but we haven't seen proposals come forward out of the Senate yet. We have been hearing things, but haven't seen anything. So the Senate is a little bit more of a mystery. The mystery gets more complicated because the political situation is so uncertain at the present time. One uncertainty is that about 10 moderate Democrats in the House, and two moderate democratic Senators, Senator Sinema from Arizona, Senator Manchin from West Virginia have been suggesting that they might not be on board for a $3.5 trillion package. So the Democrats, particularly in the Senate are having to figure out how to address the possibility that a couple of their senators won't vote for anything remotely close to $3.5 trillion. What would you toss overboard if you had to? The second question is the size of the package in terms of offset? How much will be paid for? What taxes will go up to pay for this proposal? Initially, the story was this was $3.5 trillion in new spending. Well, no, it's not because there will be a tax increases that will be imposed that will offset the new spending. What of tax increases are going to be acceptable across the Democratic coalition? Republicans aren't going to give this any support in either chamber. The Democrats have a majority of three in the House. They have a majority of zero in the Senate, so they need everybody on their team to agree on how to do this. It can be difficult to get all members of one party to agree that the sun will come up in the east tomorrow, let alone get them to agree on a package of this size and this complexity.

Sarah Spreitzer: Well, and Terry, you talked about the fact that the Senate and the House are trying to pre-conference everything right before. So we're not seeing language coming out of the Senate because they're still negotiating the top line number. And one of the biggest things that we saw this weekend was the Senate parliamentarian ruled on whether or not they could include a pathway to citizenship for certain undocumented populations and unfortunately the Senate parliamentarian ruled that no, you cannot include at least the proposal as was put forward in the Senate in a reconciliation bill. And we believe that that proposal was very similar to what was included in the House judiciary bill that was passed last week that we provide a pathway to citizenship for anyone who entered the country before the age of 18, was present before January 1st, 2021, along with a host of other groups, including those on temporary protected status, essential workers and others. It would also recapture Green cards and reallocate them. And so the Senate parliamentarian at least has said, it can't go forward as part of reconciliation in the Senate. And so therefore at least House judiciary and Senate judiciary are likely going back to the drawing board.

Terry Hartle: Yeah, absolutely. I think one of the key understandings of the reconciliation process is that the House only wants to vote on this one time. And under normal circumstances, the House would vote. They'd send it to the Senate. The Senate would vote on something that they could live with, send it back to the House and the House would pass it. The House only wants to vote one time. So we expect what we see voted on in the House will be something that has essentially been completely pre-conferenced with the Senate. One of the issues here as you mentioned, is what to do about Dreamers and immigration reform? Democrats aren't going to get comprehensive immigration reform enacted this year, just not going to happen. The political consensus won't be there of course. So the Democrats are going to try to do as much of immigration reform, particularly as it relates to DACA and Dreamers, as they can in reconciliation. The original House language involved 8 million people, Senator parliamentarian said that's way too big. So they're going to have to go back to the drawing board. So another proposal will emerge, but this is part of the reason why the House isn't rushing to a vote. They need to know what the situation is going to look like in the Senate. How big a bill can they do? What can they get past the Senate parliamentarian? I think the other thing I'd mention right here, Sarah, is that another political consideration is we have a soft deadline that is very quickly becoming a hard deadline. The House promised its members when they voted on the budget resolution earlier, that they would have a vote for final passage on the infrastructure bill by Monday, September 27th, that's a week from today. That was intended really as a soft deadline, it wasn't intended to be binding, but to moderate Democrats in the House, about 10 of them, and to a couple of moderate Democratic senators, that's now become a hard and fast deadline. And indeed the story making the rounds in Washington this morning is that Senator Sinema last week said to President Biden, if you don't vote to do the infrastructure bill on the 27th, I will not vote for reconciliation period.

Will progressive Democrats agree to vote on the infrastructure package before they know what they're going to get on reconciliation? A logical thing to do here would be to say, okay, let's take as much as we can get. Let's vote the infrastructure package, but Senate progressives believe if we do that, we might never see anything by way of reconciliation. So an awful lot is going to happen between now and next Monday when we get to that vote on the 27th. And it's impossible to predict how it's going to go both in terms of the substance and the sequencing of what the votes, if any, will be going forward.

Sarah Spreitzer: Terry, I don't think you mentioned that the other key, moderate Democrat in the Senate, Senator Manchin from West Virginia also indicated this weekend that he thought that reconciliation should be punted into next year.

Terry Hartle: Obviously it's another part of the Rubik's cube that keeps turning in unpredictable ways. So the Democrats face a huge challenge over the next week to get their team to agree on a course of action going forward.

Sarah Spreitzer: So Terry, we've had a couple questions about reconciliation. The first is that double Pell, which we have been a huge supporter of launching the double Pell campaign is unlikely to happen as part of this reconciliation bill. But what are the odds that the current $400 that's included there goes up to Biden's request of the $1,400 increase?

Terry Hartle: Sure. Well, the president had two requests to increase Pell spending. One was $1,400 as part of his American Families Act. The second part was a $400 as part of the fiscal year, 2022 appropriations bill. What we have seen so far is $500 instead of the $1,400 that we were hoping to see. We have not yet seen anything on the fiscal year, 2022 spending bills. It is possible that we could get $500 in the Pell Grant program, maybe a little bit more as part of reconciliation. It is also possible that we could see an increase in the maximum Pell Grant as part of the fiscal year 2022 budget process. If we got the 500 here, if we, we got the 400, the president proposed, that would be a $900 increase in the maximum Pell Grant. Again, a record breaking increase, but that's not a pathway to doubling. That is going to be a very good, very, very good one year number. It doesn't move us in the direction of doubling. So right now we're looking in reconciliation, probably at the best case scenario of five or $600, depending on how the reconciliation package moves forward. There is another somewhat smaller bite at the apple as part of the spending bills that'll be enacted later. We'll just have to wait and see how that plays out. We're going to continue push very hard. And we are just pushing on the idea of doubling Pell Grant. This was very clearly the president's proposal. It's clearly what the higher education community wants, clearly in the best interest of students. So we're going to continue pushing in that direction.

Sarah Spreitzer: Great. And Terry, can you say a little bit about free community college as it's proposed in the House bill, will states have to opt in, is it tied to the college completion grants? Can you talk a little bit about how that's being structured?

Terry Hartle: Yes. States will have to opt in to participate. Indeed, the purpose here, as much as anything is to try and hold states' feet to the fire to maintain, find their state support of public colleges and universities, particularly of course, community colleges. So states will have to opt in and they will have to agree to meet some conditions that quite frankly, some state won't want to meet because they will tie the hands of the state government budgetarily. The administration has proposed, the House bill would link completion grants eligibility to states that are participating in the free community college initiative. This is obviously trying to use the hook of that $9 billion Retention and Completion Fund to get more states to go into the free community college plan. I have not seen anybody make any effort to try and simulate how many states would or would not participate in free community college, but we could create a great trouble, an extraordinarily promising transformational program through federal legislation only to discover that not very many states want to participate in it because they don't like the idea of their hands being tied budgetarily.

Sarah Spreitzer: Great. And then we had a question that I think leads to our next item that we wanted to discuss. What if looking into your crystal ball, what's the outlook for reconciliation and does this play into the upcoming debate about the debt limit?

Terry Hartle: It sure does. Indeed, the reason that the media in Washington are saying it's a Rubik's cube on steroids is because the continuing resolution and debt ceiling are becoming much more central issues that are going to have to be dealt with, in all likelihood they will have to be dealt with before reconciliation. The federal fiscal year ends on September 30th, a week from this Thursday. Congress has to provide for continued operations to the federal government as of October 1st. We hit the debt ceiling sometime in the middle of October and the federal government won't be able to borrow money. Democrats are looking at this rapidly approaching deadline and trying to figure out how to manage it. They planned all along has been to tie the debt ceiling and the continuing resolution into a single measure, perhaps a short term three month measure. And to pass that under regular order in both Houses, this would mean of course in the Senate that the bill would be subject to the 60 vote threshold to move forward. Over the weekend, Senator McConnell said that Republicans aren't going to help the Democrats pass this because the Democrats control the government. This is essentially their problem. He's basically saying, you've got to put this in reconciliation if you want to get it done. The Democrats at this point are saying, "Nope, we're going to bring it up. And we're essentially going to dare you to shut down the government and to eliminate the government's ability to finance the things we have already spent money on." So this is going to be a very high stakes game. I think it will take more and more importance as the week goes on. And as that takes on, more important I think reconciliation, if not getting pushed aside, gets distinctly less attention than it was getting for example, last week.

Sarah Spreitzer: Yeah. And for those that don't know, the federal fiscal year ends October 1st. So that means there has to be a continuing resolution in place in order for the federal government to operate. And I really think that the Dems are thinking that they can hold the Republicans feet to the fire on this, because the last time we had an extended government shutdown, it did not go well in the following election cycle for the Republicans. And so, but it so well tying reconciliation to the infrastructure bill, that seems to be going very smoothly. So I'm sure this will go smoothly also.

Terry Hartle: This is really a fallout from the 2020 election when the Democrats won the White House, but lost seats in the House and Senate. Because they lost seats in the House and Senate, they have no margin for error. So any member of the Democratic party that has very strongly held views and insists on them can derail the entire package. And that's the situation the Democrats find themselves in now.

Sarah, let me change directions here. As we've talked about reconciliation being the monster that swallowed New York and the debt ceiling and the CR both merging is incredibly important unresolved issues. Some of the things that we have spent most of the last six months worrying about or thinking about, or addressing, seem to be getting less attention than we might have anticipated. So for example, legislation to enhance research security, legislation to boost America's ability to compete with China is still there, remains a bipartisan bicamel priority, but it's not making very much progress toward being enacted. Well, essentially where we were, I guess in June, which is the Senate had passed a 2,600 page bill. The House had passed two small reauthorization bills, one for NSF, one for the Office of Science at the Department of Energy. But the two bills don't really match up and it's not entirely clear what their plan is for conference. So talk a few a little bit about that. And then we've got the National Defense Authorization Act coming into play, which could be another vehicle for addressing some of the issues.

Sarah Spreitzer: Yeah. So Terry, the US Innovation and Competition Act, the 2,600 page bill that you referenced that passed the Senate, earlier this year we had heard going into the August recess that there was going to be some pre-conferencing done because the House had passed a few limited number of bills that were part of this. And remember USICA as it's called, is this bill that was being pushed by really Leader Schumer in the Senate as a way to out-compete China. And it included a huge increase in authorized dollars for the National Science Foundation. But as part of that, the Senate was saying, if we're going to give all this additional funding to our federal research agencies, we want to increase overall research security so we know that this federally funded research is not being stolen by foreign countries. And so we had this very large bill pass the Senate. We had heard that the House was going to start doing some sort of conferencing. I think for ACE, our biggest concerns in the Senate pass bill was a provision that would've required the committee on foreign investment in the US, which usually deals with for profit business investment, they would be require to review any contract over a million dollars from a foreign entity to an institution of higher education. That was a big concern.

The lowering of the section 117 threshold from 250 to 50,000 for every gift in contract. And then the creation of a new Section 124 in the Higher Education Act, which would require a lot of colleges and universities, around 400, to create and maintain databases that would track individual gifts and contracts to individual faculty and staff. And so those were all problematic things. We recently sent up a lot to the various committees on talking about these issues if they were indeed conferencing them. But some of the wind has been taken out of the sails, I think on the debate about these bills. It came up for instance, during the markup and the House Science Committee, when they were marking up their portion of the reconciliation bill, because here they are putting in a huge amount of funding into the National Science Foundation before they've gone through the authorization. And so there were House Republicans that were asking should we be putting this funding forward before we've actually completed the authorization bill?

It's also come up in the debates about the National Defense and Authorization Act or the NDAA, this is a bill that has to be passed every year that authorizes programs at the Department of Defense. And in the last couple of years, we've seen a lot of amendments introduced around research security, around institutions of higher education, and our relationships with some countries such as China and Russia. This year, the House Rules Committee is actually meeting today to consider around 850 amendments. I think there aren't any right now around Section 117, or Section 124, but there's definitely still an interest, bipartisan interest, within Congress about foreign influence, foreign interference, and bringing more transparency and more sunlight to these partnerships between either whether it's our research faculty or whether it's institutions of higher education. So I think the outlook on that Terry is we're going to have to wait to see it get through reconciliation, get through the CR, and then see whether or not there's any will within Congress. I think supporters of the bill will say that they're very close to the finish line and this could be a victory, right? A bipartisan victory that they could show that they passed this legislation in a very divided Congress, but we're just going to have to wait to see.

Terry Hartle: It'd be a bipartisan victory if they could do it, but you're still stuck with a 2,600 page encyclopedia on one hand, and a couple of paperback books over here that can neatly match up. So that would be a bill if they do it that I think would have to be written in a conference committee, which is doable, but it's not easy and it's not fast. I think the most likely scenario is we'll see further efforts to tighten research security in NDAA as you have reflected because NDAA is what we refer to as a must pass piece of legislation. It does get done every year. So this will happen at some point, but because we've got the debt ceiling and the continuing resolution, and we've got reconciliation sucking all the oxygen out of the room, it's impossible to tell what's going to happen and when with these other must-pass pieces of legislation. Sarah, another thing that's happened since our last pop-up session is we've had a number of developments related to international students, and of course we've had the continued fallout from America's departure from Afghanistan. We've had some good news, I think on international students from the State Department, they are doing their best to try and address the concerns that we have raised with them. The Afghan supplemental will be coming along. And that too has the potential to be very important to us. Why don't you talk first, if you would please, about the recent changes we've seen on immigration and international students coming out of the State Department and Homeland Security?

Sarah Spreitzer: Sure. Start with the good news. Right? So yeah, just last week we got a notice from the Department of State that they are going to be waving in person interviews for some F1 applications. There's certain thresholds that they have to meet. They have to come from a country that participates in the visa waiver program. It's still at the will of the counselor officer, but this is something that we've been asking for, Terry for some time, especially during COVID, when many of the consulates were closed and international students were unable to get an in-person interview. And the in-person interview is a requirement for the F1 visa. So this was very welcome news. And I think that really what's going on here is that State Department is facing an enormous backlog. They had a back backlog before COVID, COVID has made that backlog four times worse. And so this is a way that they can move the visa process around a little faster, a little more quickly. And then today we received news that the White House has indicated that they are likely to lift the travel bans that have been in place travel restrictions regarding certain countries due to COVID. So this includes China, South Africa, the EU, England, Ireland, I'm probably missing someone, India, that were put in place by the CDC to say, people cannot travel to the US from these countries. For our international students, we were able to get a national interest exemption for them so that they could travel after August 1st to start their programs of study. But in the lead up to the holiday season, we have faculty and staff who are here on H1Bs, J1 visas who would like to go visit their families in other countries. And now that they're vaccinated, they would like to be able to attend conferences and collaborate with partners. And so this is a big win, I think, for those folks on our campuses that have remained in the US during COVID, and are now looking to travel post vaccination. So that was very pro promising. And we expect, they said they expect that in early November.

But turning to Afghanistan, Terry, Afghanistan has been taking up a lot of time, our institutions of higher education are really stepping up to support displaced scholars and students. There's been a lot of institutions doing a lot to help evacuate people from Afghanistan as that situation has deteriorated. I would just say that we are now starting to look at how support these displaced scholars and students if they have gone out of Afghanistan? And Congress is going to be considering a supplemental, we are planning to send a letter up to Congress this week outlining some requests, including asking that they require the Department of Homeland Security to designate Afghanis for temporary protected status or deferred enforcement departures, which would allow those Afghanis who are in the US say on a student visa, who are unsure about their ability to return to Afghanistan, to remain in the US until they figure out what their plans are. We are also asking for additional funding for USAID because that was the agency that was funding a lot of the scholarly work or the academic work going on in Afghanistan. Faculty and staff have been able to get to third countries, but their USAID grants are not being funded anymore because they were based in Afghanistan, so we are asking for support for that. And then funding for USCIS to process, because we know that they're going to have to process a lot more applications with the influx of Afghanis. And then finally, some flexibility around non-immigrant intent for F1 and J1 scholars who may be applying from a third country. So we have already heard from several institutions where they have a student applicant, say in Pakistan but they hold an Afghani passport, applying for an F1 visa and it's being denied because they're unable to prove their intent to return to Afghanistan. And so some flexibility for those students and scholars, given the situation in Afghanistan. I would also say that ACE along with AAU, APLU, and IIE is working on a resource document for institutions that are interested in hosting these displaced scholars and students. And we hope to publish that within the next week or so. And we see it really as a living document, as the situation changes, and we get more information about resources that are out there to help.

Terry Hartle: That's a great update. Thanks. It does seem to me that once again, we're in a situation where we have an important piece of legislation. Everyone agrees that it needs to be addressed, but there's no telling when they will get around to addressing it. And I know you are working with some of our colleagues in the other associations and drafting a letter with the requests from the higher education community for items that we'd like to see included in an Afghan supplemental. And we're going to send it up as soon as we have the letter ready, because there's no telling when they're going to turn to this, they will, it's just not clear when it will be. And on so many ways that what we need government to do has outstripped the ability of government to do it. The Congress can't pass legislation as quickly as we need it to, agencies can't implement the legislation that Congress passes in many cases. So we're facing the challenge in terms of some of these huge issues related to the competence of government to do what we would like it to do.

Sarah Spreitzer: Thanks for that, Terry, I don't know if that's a hopeful note to end on, but at least we know that we're going to remain busy and we will next meet on October 18th. I believe it's at 2:00 PM for our next Public Policy Pop-up, but in the meantime, I'm sure you'll continue to hear a lot from the ACE team about reconciliation and all of these things that are happening. So thank you, Terry.

Terry Hartle: Thank you, Sarah. Appreciate it.

Jon Fansmith: As always, you can check out earlier episodes and subscribe to.edu on Apple, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, or wherever you listen to your podcasts. For show notes and links to resources mentioned in the episode, you can go to our website at acenet.edu/podcast. And while there, please take a short survey to let us know how we're doing. You can also email us at podcast@acenet.edu to give us suggestions on upcoming shows and guests.

And a very special thank you to the producers who help pull this podcast together. Laurie Arnston, Audrey Hamilton, Malcolm Moore, Anthony Trueheart, Catherine Ahmad, Carly O'Connell and Fatma NGom. They do an incredible job making this happen and making Mushtaq, Sarah and I sound as good as possible. And finally, before we leave, thank you so much for listening.
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