This week: international student visas and Covid-19 relief funding
In depth: Current and former policymakers have warned that the United States is on the brink of losing its position as the global leader in R&D to China, calling for dramatic escalations in federal research funding in response.
Here is the rest of the US news this week…
Proposed time limit on international student visas slammed
Democrat lawmakers have criticised a proposed rule change that would put a fixed term on international student visas. Currently, student visas are valid if the holder can prove they are studying. The chair of the House Science Committee, Eddie Bernice Johnson, and her committee colleague, Bill Foster, said in a joint statement that the rule would “lock out the global talent we need”.
Updated Covid relief package passes House
The House of Representatives passed a $2.2 trillion Covid relief package—the Heroes Act. It includes $11.9bn for universities and students, $2.9bn for the National Science Foundation, $4.7bn for the National Institutes of Health and $13.7bn for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The bill requires approval by the Senate and White House. President Trump initially told Republicans to walk away from talks on the package but later said he would approve part of it.
Research associations ask for flexible federal funding extension
The United States’ largest university and scientific associations have asked for temporary relaxations of federal finance rules to be extended into 2021 to help them cope with the Covid-19 pandemic. The short-term relief from administrative, financial management and audit requirements has allowed federally funded research organisations to keep programmes going and their researchers paid, the organisations said in a letter to the Office of Management and Budget.