As the public bemoans increasing partisan rancor in local, state and federal government, a new Political Action Committee (PAC) has quietly grown in prominence in California that is being driven by both Democrats and Republicans — showing a bipartisan way forward through an issue they can all agree on: funding higher education.
Former State Senate Republican Leader Dick Ackerman and former Democratic Congressmember and State Assemblymember Mel Levine are the “odd couple” as co-chairs of the California Coalition for Public Higher Education (CCPHE), but to them, there is nothing weird about teaming up for an issue that is of paramount importance to keep California prominent in the nation and the world.
Congress passed sweeping tax reform legislation this week and several key issues of concern to UC were successfully addressed in the final bill. The legislation preserves higher education tax benefits, including Qualified Tuition Reductions (Section 117(d)) and the student loan interest deduction – which would have been eliminated otherwise. Your advocacy was critical in protecting these benefits that are so important to our students and their families.
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) is part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and is considered the nation’s medical research agency — making important discoveries that improve health and save lives.
That mission overlaps with UCLA’s research and discovery goals frequently. NIH invests tens of billions of dollars into health research every year, and UCLA is a consistent recipient of grants that total in the hundreds of millions of dollars — $387.4 million in 2016, to be exact, which is about 64 percent of all federal money coming into the university.
This year NIH again came under the microscope, originally facing a suggestion from President Donald Trump’s administration for Congress to cut its funding by about 20 percent. Instead it saw a $1.1 billion increase for Fiscal Year 2018. The good news is that NIH has increased by almost $50 million versus Fiscal Year 2013 — an indication of bipartisan support.
The National Science Foundation (NSF) has been an important partner for UCLA research over the years. The independent federal agency was created to promote the progress of science; advance national health, prosperity, and welfare; and secure the national defense.
It is the second largest federal funder of UCLA research (13 percent), with almost $80 million given in grant money during Fiscal Year 2016. As a celebration of our federal partnerships, we have compiled a brief list of research breakthroughs that were helped along by the funding of NSF during the calendar year.