Friday Week: July 10


Notre Dame Federal Washington Relations
Familiar skylines: Washington and Notre Dame

The Most Contentious Yet

Laura McAleer, Notre Dame’s associate vice president for federal and Washington relations, reports that preparations are underway on Capitol Hill for the next, and perhaps final, pandemic-related supplemental package.  It is anticipated that this next package may be the most contentious yet, with liability protections, assistance to state and local governments, and additional unemployment benefits to be debated.  Notre Dame is working closely with our counterparts throughout the higher education community to urge Congress to provide at least $26 billion in research relief funding due to disruptions caused by COVID-19.  Congressional leaders aim to get this next package passed before Congress departs for its August recess.  The report: here.

“We don’t chase them away.” – Rev. John I. Jenkins, C.S.C.

There was widespread disappointment this week after the Department of Homeland Security announced a new temporary final rule regarding the eligibility of certain foreign student visas.  Concerned about the inhospitable treatment of international visitors, Father Jenkins added Notre Dame’s voice to a growing outcry from the higher education community.  In a letter to Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Chad F. Wolf, Father Jenkins reaffirmed Notre Dame’s continued commitment to our international students and scholars, calling for the proposed policy to be abandoned.  Father Jenkins also announced that Notre Dame would submit an amicus curiae brief in support of the Harvard and MIT lawsuit to stop Immigration and Customs Enforcement from expelling foreign students who are enrolled only in online courses.

Read the full letter here.

NPR: Coach Ivey Leads

National Public Radio featured Niele Ivey, Head Coach of  Notre Dame Women’s Basketball, in an  interview this morning on how she has emerged as a leader during the pandemic and national reexamination of race.

Read and listen here.

The Pause

In his weekly press conference on Wednesday, Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb discussed what he characterized as a “pause” the previous week in moving from Stage 4 to Stage 5 of the state’s “Back on Track Indiana” plan.  The governor stated a decision on whether to move to Stage 5 will be announced next week during his press conference on July 15.

Holcomb and Dr. Kristina Box, Indiana health commissioner, said they paused the move to the more relaxed posture of Stage 5 because of the increased percentage of confirmed positive cases through testing, according to Tim Sexton, Notre Dame’s associate vice president for public affairs, who monitors the governor’s conferences.  In late June, 4.1% of tests came back positive.  As of July 4, the positivity rate of tests increased to 5.9%.  Box indicated hospitalizations due to COVID-19 are also trending up slightly, but that ICU beds and ventilators are still widely available across the state.  Holcomb continues to stress mask wearing, social distancing, and hand washing to combat the spread of the virus.

The Interview: America Magazine

Father Jenkins talks with America Magazine editor Rev. Matt Malone, S.J., about the reopening of Notre Dame, which Father Malone quipped “is America Magazine’s favorite non-Jesuit Catholic university.”

Full interview here.

Notre Dame and South Bend

Despite the pandemic, a special print edition of Notre Dame Magazine made it from the presses to the mail on time this week.  It is an expansive report on the relationship between Notre Dame and South Bend.

See the full issue here.

Pushing Poverty Down

Research by Notre Dame’s Jim Sullivan, the Gilbert F. Schaefer College Professor of Economics, and colleagues at the University of Chicago on federal spending during the pandemic continued to receive international attention this week after it was first reported on the front page of the New York Times.

The current edition of the London-based The Economist reports:

“A new paper from economists at the University of Chicago and the University of Notre Dame, however, suggests that poverty, as measured on an annual basis, may actually have fallen a bit in April and May, continuing a trend seen in the months before the pandemic hit.

“Why? The main reason is that fiscal policy is helping to push poverty down. The stimulus plan passed by Congress is twice the size of the one passed to fight the recession of a decade ago. Much of it, including cheques worth up to $1,200 for a single person and a $600-a-week increase in unemployment insurance for those out of work, is focused on helping households through the lockdowns. At the same time, unemployment now looks unlikely to rise to 25% or higher, as some economists had predicted in the early days of the pandemic, thereby exerting less upward pressure on poverty than had been feared.”

Paul J. Browne is vice president for public affairs and communications