House Appropriations’ rule limits a nonprofit funding option

New House appropriations committee chair Tom Cole (R-OK) has announced a rule that nonprofits are not eligible for “community project funding” (i.e., earmarks) from the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Economic Development Initiative in the FY 2025 appropriations bill. In FY 2024, this account provided $3.3 billion to public and nonprofit organizations, and CQ Roll Call reports that nearly $800 million of the House’s projects went to nonprofits. The rules for FY 2025 also maintain the ban Cole’s predecessor, Rep. Kay Granger (R-TX), placed on all earmarks in the Labor-Health and Human Services-Education funding bill. At this point, the Senate does not seem likely to conform with the House’s change—the Senate has not published a change to its guidance and did not follow the House’s restrictions in FY 2024.

Deadline approaching for new federal regulations that a hostile Congress could quickly overturn

Sometime in late May, the U.S. will pass a deadline that could have major repercussions for new administration rules, depending on the outcome of the 2024 federal elections. In effect, rules finalized before late May would be overturned only by going through a new, full rulemaking process, which can be a lengthy process. Rules passed after that date, however, could be overturned relatively quickly by Congress if control of the branches changes.

Shutdown watch: What will congressional inaction mean for TBED?

As of this writing, Congress has yet to agree to fund the federal government beyond this Saturday, Sept. 30. Major media outlets are covering the play-by-play of these developments—i.e., the Senate’s slow progress toward a weekend vote on a continuing resolution and uncertainty about the House—and providing some information about broad effects, but how would a shutdown affect tech-based economic development (TBED) programs? The answer varies by agency and program, with many details remaining unclear, even at this late hour.

Congress moves erratically on budget, tax issues

The House and Senate are working toward FY 2024 appropriations, but not even a negotiated agreement has kept the chambers moving in the same direction. Today, the Senate appropriations committee directed its subcommittees to produce bills that align with the slight reduction in non-defense spending agreed to in the debt ceiling agreement reached earlier this month. However, after House Freedom Caucus members revolted over the agreement, the House appropriations committee decided to direct its subcommittees to produce bills  that cut another $119 billion from the level agreed to as part of the debt ceiling deal.

Some US investments in other countries under scrutiny

The U.S. Department of Treasury and the International Trade Administration within the U.S. Department of Commerce have issued reports considering a program to address national security concerns “arising from outbound investments from the United States into sensitive technologies that could enhance the technological capabilities of countries of concern in ways that threaten U.S. national security.” The reports were required by Congress as part of the most recent appropriations bill and come amid growing concern about China’s technological capacity and if American venture capital funds are helping fuel it.

SSTI members support innovation programs on the Hill

The SSTI Innovation Advocacy Council continues to work toward additional appropriations for Regional Technology and Innovation Hubs, Build to Scale, and the Federal and State Technology (FAST) Partnership. This week, the Council facilitated meetings with SSTI members and congressional offices to discuss funding priorities. SSTI also released a letter signed by 70 national and regional entities that support fully-funding the Tech Hubs program.

Is the future of work a four-day workweek?

The idea of changing the 40 hour workweek standard has been floated for decades, and more frequently discussed in recent years as companies confront pandemic-related stress, burnout and the “Great Resignation.” But, even as some smaller U.S. companies (mostly in tech) have moved toward offering a shorter workweek, the idea has not become mainstream, despite some states’ best efforts.

Rep. David Cicilline, regional innovation policy champion, leaving House

This week, Rep. David Cicilline (RI) announced that he will resign his seat in the U.S. House, effective June 1, 2023, to become the president and CEO of the Rhode Island Foundation. Cicilline was a strong supporter of the Economic Development Administration’s Build to Scale program, speaking about the program on the floor of the House and co-leading "Dear Colleague" letters (with Rep. Randy Hultgren) requesting appropriations. He also spoke about the importance of Build to Scale specifically and regional innovation economies generally at SSTI’s 2017 Annual Conference. The Rhode Island Foundation is a community foundation that, according to its website, has been in existence for more than 100 years, focusing on economic security, educational success and healthy lives.

Innovation-related congressional committees see new members

Editor's note: The Senate appropriations subcommittees were formally updated after this article originally published. They have been updated to reflect new assignments.

House hearing expresses support for regional innovation

In a hearing this week, lawmakers expressed bipartisan support for EDA’s innovation programs and for providing appropriations for the newly-authorized Regional Innovation and Technology Hubs. On Dec. 14, the House Subcommittee on Research and Technology held a hearing on “Building Regional Innovation Economies.” This panel, convened by subcommittee Chairwoman Haley Stevens, emphasized the Economic Development Administration’s Build to Scale, Build Back Better Regional Challenge and newly-authorized Regional Technology and Innovation Hubs (Tech Hubs) programs. The witnesses, who included EDA administrator Alejandra Y. Castillo, spoke to the significant and positive impact EDA funding has had for local economies.


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