117th Congress Convenes for New Session

U.S. State Capitol

As the 117th U.S. Congress begins its work in Washington D.C. this week, our team wants to provide UT Advocates with a federal government relations update. The update includes information about the UT priorities secured during the last quarter of 2020 and recent developments with the new Congress. We thank you for your continued support of UT and wish you a Happy New Year.

UT Secures Language in National Defense Authorization Act for Milan Land Transfer 

The National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) contains language authorizing the U.S. Army to transfer roughly 900 acres of former Milan Army Ammunition Plant land to the UT AgResearch and Education Center at Milan.The UT Institute of Agriculture has leased this acreage for approximately 40 years. Securing the authorization for the transfer was critical to the Center’s future as the Army was expected to ultimately surplus the property. Thank you to all the UT Advocates who participated in the advocacy campaign who helped made this important first step happen!

UT Receives Record Funding in Federal FY21 Appropriations Requests

The 116th Congress passed its fiscal year 2021 appropriations budget last month, with the University of Tennessee receiving record funding for UT projects. In addition, Congress included the Higher Education Emergency Relief fund (HEERF) in the budget, which will deliver $20.4B to higher education institutions through a formula and process resembling the CARES Act. The HEEFR bill will also streamline the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) application, making it easier for students to apply for federal financial aid, a measure long supported by Sen. Lamar Alexander.

President-Elect Announces New Education Secretary Nominee 

President-elect Joe Biden selected Dr. Miguel Cardona, the education commissioner of Connecticut, as his pick to lead the U.S. Department of Education. Dr. Cardona is a former teacher, principal, and long-time administrator.

117th Congress Starts Its Work with New Tennessee Members 

The 117th Congress was officially sworn in Sunday, with two new members joining the Tennessee Congressional delegation. In the House, Republican Diana Harshbarger, a Kingsport pharmacist, succeeded retiring Rep. Phil Roe in Tennessee’s 1st Congressional District. In the Senate, Republican Bill Hagerty, a former U.S. Ambassador to Japan and State Economic and Community Development Commissioner, succeeded retiring Sen. Lamar Alexander. We encourage you to welcome Rep. Harshbarger and Sen. Hagerty to the Tennessee Congressional delegation and to share your UT story. More information on how to contact your elected officials can be found, here.