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Republicans Push to Expand Foreign Money Disclosures in Academia

NOV 13, 2023
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Science Policy Reporter, FYI American Institute of Physics
House Education and Workforce Committee Chair Virginia Foxx (R-NC)
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House Education and Workforce Committee Chair Virginia Foxx (R-NC)

(Congress)

The House Education and Workforce Committee voted 27-11 on Nov. 8 to advance a bill that would expand foreign gift reporting requirements for universities and faculty members.

The Defending Education Transparency and Ending Rogue Regimes Engaging in Nefarious Transactions (DETERRENT) Act would lower the current reporting threshold from $250,000 to $50,000 for most countries, with a $0 threshold for “countries of concern,” such as China and Iran. The legislation would also require the disclosure of foreign gifts to individual staff and faculty at universities that receive more than $50 million annually in federal R&D funds.

“We deserve to know which countries are paying for influence on college campuses,” Committee Chair Virginia Foxx (R-NC) said in her opening statement, highlighting the case of Harvard University chemist Charles Lieber, who was sentenced earlier this year for lying to federal authorities about his ties to China.

Ranking Member Bobby Scott (D-VA) said in a statement that the bill failed to meaningfully address research security concerns and could jeopardize global research collaboration by introducing onerous reporting requirements.

The legislation is the first in a series of bills Republicans plan to advance in an attempt to update the Higher Education Act.

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