What Every UT Advocate Should Know This Week

Category: Federal Issues

Government Shutdown: Week Two
Two weeks in to the government shutdown, Congress has yet to find common ground on the federal budget impasse.  Initial reports indicated that a short-term government shutdown would minimally impact colleges and universities, but as the shutdown nears the end of its second week and creeps closer to October 17 (the deadline for raising the debt ceiling) concern is growing about the shutdown’s ramifications on higher education.

The focus now shifts to a meeting happening Thursday afternoon at the White House between the President and a delegation of House Republican leaders.  Reports out of Washington hint that the Republican delegation will present the President with a new proposal, described as a short-term debt ceiling increase (that would extend the debt limit for roughly six weeks) while keeping the government shutdown and the budget debate ongoing.  However, the outcome of this meeting is still largely uncertain.

What We’re Reading On the Shutdown:
After One Week, Federal Shutdown Is Already Taking a Toll on Higher Ed

GOP to Propose Temporary Debt-Ceiling Increase

GOP Mulls Six-Week Debt Hike

White House on Boehner plan:  Obama ‘willing to look at any proposal’

UT Martin ROTC Program On the Chopping Block
The ROTC Program at UT Martin has been identified as one of thirteen programs across the nation that is projected to be eliminated at the end of the 2015 academic year.  The program has commissioned over 650 Cadets over the course of its history.  Other Tennessee programs that have been identified for closure include Tennessee Tech and East Tennessee State University.

Memphis Attorney Raumesh Akbari Wins Democratic Primary for House District 91
Memphis attorney Raumesh Akbari won the Democratic Primary this week for House District 91, the seat held by longtime lawmaker Lois DeBerry who passed away earlier this year.  Akbari will run against James L. Tomasik, an Independent candidate, in the general election on November 21.  The winner of this special election will represent District 91 until the regular 2014 general election, which occurs on November 4, 2014.

State Rep. Eric Watson Won’t Seek Reelection
State Representative Eric Watson (R-Cleveland) has announced that he will not seek reelection to the State House in 2014, instead opting to run for Bradley County Sherriff.  Watson has been a friend to the University on a number of issues during his tenure in the legislature and played a pivotal role in helping secure additional state funds for UT’s award-winning Law Enforcement Innovation Center.

State Rep. Charles Curtiss Won’t Seek Reelection
State Representative Charles Curtiss (D-Sparta) has announced that he will not seek reelection in 2014.  Curtiss was first elected to the Tennessee House of Representatives in 1994 and formerly served as a White County Commissioner and as White County Executive.  Anthony Haynes, University of Tennessee System Vice President for Government Relations and Advocacy, calls Curtiss’ retirement from the State House “a loss for common sense government and the University of Tennessee.”

The University wishes both Representatives Watson and Curtiss well and thanks them for their service to the people of Tennessee.

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