Speaking Out for Georgetown
In service to the University and to our students, the Office of Federal Relations identifies and addresses issues that are of interest to our multiple constituencies and to higher education in general. We provide outreach and advocacy, whether it is mounting an effort to increase Pell Grants, protecting the Perkins Loan program, or providing testimony before Congressional Committees regarding tax code important to the University. Below are links to formal communications with Congress and Federal Agencies from the past five years.
On Securing the Release of Austin Tice, SFS ’02
- August 17, 2022: On the tenth anniversary of Austin Tice’s (SFS’02, L’13) capture in Syria, Georgetown President John J. DeGioia and U.S. Secretary of State Anthony Blinken joined Tice’s family and other advocates for an event raising awareness for his case.
- September 27, 2019: Sens. John Cornyn (R-TX), Patty Murray (D-WA), and Reps. Eliot Engel (D-NY), Michael McCaul (R-TX), and Al Green (D-TX) led a bicameral bipartisan group of 122 House members and 52 Senators in urging President Trump to secure the release of detained American journalist Austin Tice, SFS ’02. The 173 lawmakers signed a letter to the President demanding Administration action to facilitate Tice’s release from Syria.
On the Obama Administration’s College Rating Framework
On The Federal Budget
- Georgetown University joined over 2,000 organizations nationwide in urging bipartisan Members of Congress to “replace sequestration with a balanced approach to deficit reduction.” Without doing so, critical investments in biomedical and other research and federal student aid will be in jeopardy.
- Georgetown University joins over 1,000 organizations in calling for strong funding levels for Labor-HHS Education appropriations for FY’15
On the 225th anniversary of Georgetown’s Founding
On Immigration Reform
- October 19, 2017: Georgetown University signed onto the American Council on Education (ACE) letter to Congress to advocate in favor of passing the DREAM Act. 700+ other colleges and universities signed the letter.
- August 2, 2017: As he leads efforts in the U.S. Senate to protect students under the DACA program and to enact the much-needed DREAM Act, Senator Richard Durbin (D-IL) ( SFS ’66, L ’69) shared the story of Georgetown sophomore, Juan Martinez, who is covered by DACA.
- October 25, 2013. Why Comprehensive Immigration Reform Matters at Georgetown: Students Tell the Story
- July 18, 2013. President John J. DeJoia joins nearly one hundred prominent Catholic university presidents in signing a letter urging Catholics in the House of Representatives to stop delaying and pass comprehensive immigration reform with a path to citizenship.
On Health Care Reform
- January 11, 2010. Dr. James Welsh, Assistant Vice President for Student Health, wrote House Education and Labor Committee Chairman George Miller (D-CA), a lead House negotiator on Health Care Reform legislation, regarding the ability of universities to make sure that their students have health insurance, including through policies offered through the institutions, under the final Health Care Reform legislation.
- October 20, 2009. Dr. James Welsh, Assistant Vice President for Student Health, wrote Senator Christopher Dodd, as lead Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee negotiator on Health Care Reform legislation, urging care in ensuring that the pending legislation not undermine the ability of universities to make sure that their students have health insurance, including through policies offered through the institutions.
On the Exit Ban imposed on Georgetown Student Victor Liu, C ’21
- January 14, 2020: Since June 2018 Georgetown student Victor Liu (C ’21) (along with his sister and mother) has been prevented from leaving China under an exit ban. President DeGioia has called for the exit ban to be lifted immediately so that Victor, who is a U.S. citizen, can return home to the United States. In close coordination with the U.S. government, Georgetown continues to work to secure Victor’s safe return. We have been engaging on Victor’s behalf with Chinese and American government officials since June 2018. President DeGioia has written letters to US and Chinese officials in the executive and legislative branches. He and other Georgetown senior representatives have met with government officials in the U.S. and China, and have engaged numerous individuals with deep knowledge of US-China relations. All of our efforts remain focused on securing Victor’s safe return to the United States.
On the DREAM Act
- June 28, 2011. Senator Richard Durbin (D-IL) (SFS ’66, GULC ’69) is the lead Senate sponsor of the Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act, and chaired a hearing of the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Immigration, Refugees and Border Security. To reinforce his long-standing support for the DREAM Act, Georgetown President John J. DeGioia, submitted testimony for the hearing record. Others testifying included the Secretaries of Education and of Homeland Security and several young people who would benefit from enactment of the legislation.
- December 3, 2010. Georgetown is immensely proud that Senator Richard Durbin (SFS í66, GULC í69) has long been and remains the lead sponsor of the Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors Act (DREAM Act). That legislation would create a path to eventual legal immigrant status for young people who came to the United States before age 16 without documentation and who have met many other conditions, including two years of post-secondary education or military service. Passage of the DREAM Act is a priority for Georgetown University, and President DeGioia expressed his strong support in a commentary on WAMU, an NPR-affiliated radio station in the Nationís Capital. You can listen to and read his commentary by clicking here.
- April 6, 2009. Letter from Georgetown University President John J. DeGioia in support of the Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act to its sponsor Senator Dick Durbin (D-Illinois).
- February 22, 2009. Similar letters in support of the DREAM Act were sent to members of the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate who are Georgetown alumni, along with copies of a feature from the Washington Post Magazine about Juan Gomez, a Georgetown student who would be impacted by the legislation.
On the University Endowment
- February 25, 2008. Letter from Georgetown University President John J. DeGioia to Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) and Senator Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) on University Endowments.
- February 25, 2008. Supplemental materials to Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) and Senator Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) on University Endowments: Response 1, Response 2, Response 3, Response 4, Response 5, Response 6, Response 7, Response 8, Response 9, Response 10, Response 11.
On Tax Reform
- December 5, 2017. Letter from Georgetown University President John J. DeGioia to the chairmen and ranking members of the Senate Finance Committee and House Ways & Means Committee sharing university concerns regarding the provisions of pending tax legislation.
On Issues Impacting DC
- September 23, 2020. Letter from Georgetown University President John J. DeGioia to DC Mayor Muriel Bowser and DC Council Chair Phil Mendelson expressing support for the DC Auditor’s review of the officer-involved shooting of Deon Kay.
- September 9, 2019. Letter from Georgetown University President John J. DeGioia to the House Committee on Oversight and Reform’s Chair Elijah Cummings and Ranking Member Jim Jordan urging favorable action on H. R. 51, the “Washington, D.C. Admission Act.”
On the Higher Education Act Reauthorization
- April 24, 2008. Letter from Vice President for University Safety Rocco DelMonaco, Jr., to Congresswoman Carolyn McCarthy with regard to her legislation, “The Virginia Tech Victims Campus Emergency Response Policy and Notification Act,” (H.R. 5735).
- April 17, 2007. Letter from Assistant Vice President Scott Fleming to House Education and Labor Committee bipartisan leadership sharing views on upcoming Higher Education Act Reauthorization.
On International Education
- October 26, 2020. In response to the Trump Administration’s proposed rule on September 25th establishing a “fixed time period of admission” for F-1 and J-1 students and scholars that would require them to re-apply for an extension to stay in the country every 2 or 4 years, instead of allowing them to stay for as long as they need to finish their program as long as they’re making normal academic progress, as is the current rule. This rule could have significant implications on our students, scholars, and programs, and as such, Georgetown has decided to submit a formal comment to the US Government opposing the rule. President DeGioia submitted the following comment to the Department of Homeland Security in the hopes that the Administration would reconsider this rule.
- June 26, 2012. President DeGioia joined more than 100 fellow University Presidents and Chancellors in writing a letter to President Obama and the bipartisan Congressional leadership urging them to ìwork together to develop a bipartisan solution that ensures our top international graduates have a clear path to a green card, so they can stay and create new American jobs.î
- July 15, 2011. USA Today Online published an Op-Ed piece by former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and former U. S. Senator Chuck Hagel entitled ìLanguage Cuts Endanger U. S.î arguing that cuts to Department of Education international education and foreign language program funding ìnot only threatens the nation’s diplomatic, intelligence, and national security capacities, but also our ability to maximize our competitiveness in global markets.î
- July 12, 2011. 86 college and university leaders joined in a letter originated by Georgetown University President Jack DeGioia and Indiana University President Michael A. McRobbie urging leaders of the House and Senate Appropriations Committees to restore funding for the Department of Educationís international education and foreign language studies programs. Among the programs supported by funding under this account are the Georgetown University Centers on East Asia; Eurasian, Russian and East European Studies; and the Middle East.
- April 20, 2011. Letter from President DeGioia to the Honorable Arne Duncan, Secretary of Education, concerning potential $50 million cut in the Office of Postsecondary Education’s International Education and Foreign Language account.
- April 14, 2011. Testimony of Chantal Santelices, Director, Center for Intercultural Education and Development, before House Appropriations Subcommittee on State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs, regarding the Scholarships for Education and Economic Development (SEED) program.
- June 19, 2008. Testimony by Chantal Santelices, Director of the Georgetown University Center for Intercultural Education and Development, “Restoring America’s Leadership Through Scholarships for Undergraduates from Developing Countries: The Uniting Students in America Proposal,” before House Education and Labor and Foreign Affairs Subcommittees.
- February 22, 2008. Letter from President DeGioia responding to concerns of Congressman Frank Wolf (R-VA) regarding Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Center for Muslim Christian Understanding.
- June 29, 2007. Testimony by Katherine Bellows, Executive Director, Georgetown University Office of International Programs, before a Joint Hearing of the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on International Organizations, Human Rights and Oversight and the House Education and Labor Subcommittee on Higher Education, Lifelong Learning and Competitiveness regarding the importance of international scholars and students on U. S. campuses.
On Jan Karski Presidential Medal of Freedom
- June 6, 2012. Senator Joseph Lieberman (I-CT) addressed the United States Senate on the granting of the Presidential Medal of Freedom to Dr. Jan Karski.
- May 30, 2012. Congresswoman Nita Lowey (D-NY) addressed the House of Representatives with regard to the awarding of the Presidential Medal of Freedom to Dr. Jan Karski.
- December 15, 2011. Letter from 66 bipartisan Members of the House of Representatives, led by Representatives Nita Lowey (D-NY) and Dan Lipinski (D-IL), to President Obama urging him to award the Presidential Medal of Freedom posthumously to the late Georgetown Professor Jan Karski.
On Support for Biomedical Research
- Friday, January 3, 2014. Georgetown President John J. DeGioia presented a commentary on WAMU radio about the importance of adequate funding for biomedical and other research as Congress finalizes Fiscal 2014 appropriations legislation.
- November 1, 2012. Two letters (a letter to Bipartisan Congressional Leadership and a letter to President Barack Obama) from Georgetown’s Lombardi Cancer Center and 25 other cancer centers around the country urging “an alternative to sequestration and in doing so, achieve a solution that will continue to provide substantial NIH funding.” The letters made the point that ” Funding cancer research and biomedical science through the NIH means fewer cancer-related deaths, significant victories in the cancer research community, greater economic stability, and an eventual cure for cancer.”
- June 15, 2012. Letter from Georgetown University Medical Center Executive Vice President Howard Federoff to House Chairman Denny Rehberg (R-MT) and Ranking Democratic Member Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) of the Labor-Health and Human Services-Education Appropriations Subcommittee to match or surpass the $100 million increase included in the Senate Appropriations Committee’s Fiscal 2013 appropriation for the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The letter highlights both the health and economic benefits of investments in the NIH.
- May 30, 2012. Co-signed letter from Georgetownís Lombardi Cancer Center to bipartisan House and Senate leadership urging the ìsafeguarding funding for the National Cancer Center (NCI)and its parent agency, the National Institutes of Health (NIH).
- February 10, 2009. Letter from Georgetown University Medical Center Executive Vice President Howard Federoff and Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center Director Louis Weiner to Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Daniel Inouye and House Appropriations Committee Chairman David Obey in support of NIH funding in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.
- January 13, 2009. Letter from Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center Director Louis Weiner to Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton in support of NIH funding in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.
- October 9, 2007. Letter from GUMC Executive Vice President Howard Federoff to Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor-Health and Human Services-Education Chairman Tom Harkin (D-IA) and Ranking Member Arlen Specter (R-PA) in support of increased NIH funding in Senate’s proposed Fiscal 2008 Labor-Health and Human Services-Education Appropriations.
- October 4, 2007. Testimony of GUMC Professor James Wilson, MD, before Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Subcommittee on Oversight of Government Management, the Federal Workforce and the District of Columbia regarding the ISIS Center’s Global Argus Program.
On Continuing the Success of the Scholarships for Education and Economic Development (SEED) Program
- January 11, 2011: Georgetown stands with Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and other victims of January 8 shootings.
On November 19, 2010, Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords visited the Arizona State Museum where she met students from the Scholarships for Education and Economic Development (SEED) program who are studying at the University of Arizona at Tucson. The Congresswoman has been a solid supporter of the USAID-funded program administered by Georgetown Universityís Center for Intercultural Education and Development. All of us have the Congresswoman, the other victims of the tragic shootings on January 8, 2011, and their families and friends in our thoughts and prayers.
- March 20, 2007. Testimony by CIED Director Chantal Santelices before House State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs Appropriations Subcommittee.
- September 17, 2007. Letter from Congressman Ron Kind (D-WI) to Acting USAID Administrator Henrietta Fore urging her to continue the East Central European Scholarship Program in Albania and Macedonia.
- March 20, 2007. FY2007 Testimony Before House Foreign Operations Appropriations Subcommittee.
- March 20, 2007. FY2007 Testimony Before Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs
On International Student Visas
- June 29, 2007. Testimony by Executive Director of International Programs, Katherine Bellows Before Joint Hearing of House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on International Organizations, Human Rights, and Oversight and House Education and Labor Subcommittee on Higher Education, Lifelong Learning, and Competitiveness.
On IRA Rollover for Charitable Purposes
- September 5, 2005. Letter to Senate Committee Finance and House Committee on Ways and Means on Katrina Tax Relief/ Charitable IRA Rollover.
On Strengthening Federal Student Aid
- November 20, 2015: Georgetown University joined fifty-three higher education associations and over 500 post-secondary institutions in signing on to a letter urging Congress to extend the Perkins Loan program before wrapping up its work for 2015. This is just one aspect of our advocacy work on the Perkins loan program.
- October 30, 2013: The Student Aid Alliance, of which Georgetown University is a member, wrote the Chairs of the House-Senate Budget Conference Committee, Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) and Representative Paul Ryan (R-WI) urging that the conferees maintain a strong commitment to student aid funding and eliminate the threat of another across-the-board “sequester” cut that would damage important federal student aid programs.
- October 27, 2011: In the aftermath of the passage of legislation raising the federal debt ceiling in August, the so-called ìSuper Committeeî has been meeting to shape a package of deficit reduction measures aimed to reduce the federal debt. That Committee faces a deadline of November 23 to report its recommendations for an up or down vote in the House and Senate, with those votes occurring no later than December 23. At the same time, the Congressional appropriations process is underway for Fiscal Year 2013. In both of those processes, there is talk about changes being made in and funding cuts to various federal student aid programs, such as Pell Grants, Supplemental Education Opportunity Grants, Federal Work Study, and Stafford Loans. All of those programs are very important to many Georgetown students. The University is a member of the Student Aid Alliance, and the Alliance has created an on-line ìSave Student Aid: Statement of Support.î Thousands of individuals from across the country have already signed the online petition. If you would like to add your signature, click here. If you have any questions, please send them to email@example.com.
- March 15, 2011: WAMU 88.5 Commentary By John DeGioia: Don’t Cut Federal Student Aid.
- March 14, 2011: After attending the House Education and the Workforce Committee hearing on education policy issues in the FY2012 budget, Georgetown sophomore Jesse Avila posted a comment on The Hill.com.
- March 9, 2011: Georgetown students attend hearing where Secretary Duncan advocates for Obama Administrationís education budget, including financial aid programs.
Jasmine Motton (MSB í14), Sarah Heath (C í14), Hailey Ott (C í11), Jesse Avila (C í13), Mimi Ko (C í11), and Francisco Gutierrez (MSB í13) (left to right)
- March 2, 2011: In an effort to protect federal student financial aid in FY2012, several Georgetown students graciously volunteered to share their stories, opinions on the importance of financial aid, and their future aspirations. Videos of their testimony can be found here.
- January 13, 2011: Letter to OMB Director Jacob Lew from President DeGioia commends President Obama’s leadership in making sure postsecondary education is within reach of all Americans and urging that the federal government maintain strong student aid funding in FY2012 budget proposal.
- September 22, 2010: Testimony by Joseph Hill, Georgetown University senior, before the House Budget Committee Hearing on the Perkins Loan Program.
- June 15, 2010: Letter to former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi from President DeGioia urging inclusion of funds in FY2010 Supplemental Appropriations to cover Pell Grant shortfall. (June 15, 2010)
- February 3, 2009: Letter to Senator Richard Durbin, Assistant Senate Democratic Leader, in support of including student aid funding in the Stimulus Act. Similar letters went to other Georgetown alumni serving the Senate.
- June 28, 2007: Remarks by Georgetown Student, Justin Lepscier, at Student Aid Alliance Session.
On Hoya Basketball
- February 15, 2007: Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton’s tribute to 100 years of Hoya Basketball.
On Pope Francis — the First Jesuit Pope of the Catholic Church
- March 22, 2013: Led by Congressman Michael Grimm (R-NY), over fifty bipartisan Members of Congress wrote the Papal Nuncio in the United States extending their ìjoy and heartfelt congratulations . . . on the election of Pope Francis as Supreme Pontiff of the Roman Catholic Church.î The letter notes that the values of the Society of Jesus ìare steeped in the American tradition, most notably in institutions like Georgetown University, the oldest Catholic and Jesuit college in America and our nationís capital.î