Federal Legislative Process
Each year the University of Montana prepares a list of interests and priorities to submit to the Congressional delegation. This list is first provided, for informational purposes, to the Board of Regents, usually in January, and transmitted to Congress shortly thereafter. In 2014, the Board of Regents meeting is scheduled for January 8-9, 2014, and several deadlines for lists and materials occur in December 2013.
In order to prepare materials for submission in January, we need to initiate the FY 2015 process. Before deciding to use the form to suggest an initiative please read the numbered and bulleted items below to make sure it fits into one of the categories for a reasonable chance of being included in the university packet of requests. Typically the university would only bring forward 5-10 requests, so the process is rather selective.
While earmarks are no longer permitted, there are several categories of interests that we need to identify and consider for inclusion in next year’s requests:
Programs/accounts of importance to the University.
- These include formula grants, accounts where your department has had particular success or on-going support, or programs that may be a particular target for future funding.
- Examples would include the USDA McIntire-Stennis program which funds Colleges of Forestry on a formula basis and the EPSCoR/IDeA programs, which are designated to assist in building research infrastructure in state that receive limited federal research funding.
- In this budget environment, it is important to protect funding for these programs.
More targeted programs.
- The University participates in several programs that are more targeted and that require ongoing federal support.
- Examples of these include the Wildland Fire Science Program, which supports a number of fire research and support activities at the University, and the Defense Critical Languages Program.
- The FY 2014 Appropriations reports, for example, include language on both of these. The Senate Interior report notes, “The Forest Service is also encouraged to continue its Wildland Fire Science Partnership”. The Senate Defense report notes, “The Committee recognizes that, in partnership with universities across the country, the Defense Language and National Security Education Office provides critical training for service members and government officials in a number of languages and strategic cultures, including those of the Arab world, Afghanistan, China, and Iran. The Committee encourages the Department of Defense to continue placing a high priority on these programs to ensure warfighters receive the language and culture training needed to complete their missions effectively”.
Programs or Activities where the University of Montana may want to compete.
- This would relate to programs where there is no current funding coming into the University, but where the account or program is of significant interest. It might be an upcoming NASA mission where some particular emphasis would help the University, or some tweaking on an anticipated program related to climate change. The effort would be to direct emphasis to the types of activities that would be most relevant to the University of Montana.
High Priority University Interest.
- This would involve a high University priority for which there is no current target or known opportunity. The importance of the issue to the University would drive its priority.
The form is designed to gather initial information without requiring a lengthy draft. The form should be sent through your Chair to your Dean or unit head. The Dean, Provost and Vice President for Research and Creative Scholarship will meet to determine the best requests to go forward. Ultimately, the President, Provost, and Vice President for Research and Creative Scholarship will discuss the requests with our contacts in Washington and the legislative staff to determine the requests that will be included in the university packet. I your request is selected I will work with you, if necessary, on a 1-2 page draft in the final format that we use in presenting the information to the legislative staff. Please remember:
- Institutions cannot be specifically named in the request.
- Funds are not available for construction or innovation.
- Requests must be tied to a federal program, appropriations account or activity.
- The purpose of most requests will be to secure a specified level of funding for a program or activity, to guide a program or activity in a particular direction, or to provide general policy recommendations in an area.
- Language can be included in authorization bills as well as appropriations bills.
Should you have any questions about the feasibility of an idea, the process, or how to proceed, please do not hesitate to contact me at email@example.com.