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December 1, 2020

Florida’s New Members of Congress

In January the Florida congressional delegation will include five new members of Congress, all Republican.  The congressional delegation for the 117th Congress will tip Republican, with 16 Republicans and 11 Democrats. There will be five members of the Gator Caucus: Senator Rubio, and Representatives Bilirakis, Wasserman Schultz, Steube, and Cammack.

All Florida incumbents won reelection except for two first-term Democrats (Shalala and Mucarsel-Powell). Party Caucus elections for committee leadership positions will be held later this month. 

The new members of Florida’s congressional delegation are:

  • Kat Cammack (R-District 3) – former Deputy Chief of Staff to incumbent Representative Ted Yoho, represents Gainesville, Alachua, Clay, Putnam, Bradford, and Union Counties. 
  • Scott Franklin (R-District 15) – Veteran, CEO of an insurance company; succeeds Representative Spano; represents portions of Hillsborough and Polk counties and includes Brandon, Plant City, Lakeland, and Bartow. 
  • Byron Donalds (R-District 19) – State lawmaker, former chair of Florida Insurance and Banking Committee; represents Cape Coral, Fort Myers, Naples, and Marco Island; succeeds Representative Francis Rooney.    
  • Carlos Gimenez (R-District 26) – Mayor of Miami-Dade County, a former firefighter; succeeds Rep. Mucarsel-Powell; represents Monroe County and portions of Miami-Dade County, including Key Largo, Marathon, and Key West. 
  • Maria Salazar – (R-District 27) – journalist, TV anchor CNN Espanol, Telemundo; succeeds Representative Donna Shalala; represents Miami-Dade County, including Miami, Miami Beach, Coral Gables, and Kendall. 


Presidential Transition

President-Elect Joe Biden and Vice President-Elect Kamala Harris have announced agency review teams responsible for “understanding the operations of each agency, ensuring a smooth transfer of power, and preparing for President-elect Biden and Vice President-elect Harris and their cabinet to hit the ground running on Day One.” As it prepares to assume control on January 20, the incoming Biden Administration has released the names of the members of the various Agency Review Teams.  The review teams are intended to gather information about the operations of various federal agencies to foster, as much as possible, a smooth transition of power to a new administration. The lists of the different teams are available here

The Biden-Harris platform unveiled during the campaign suggests that higher education will be a primary focus of the new administration. Among the proposals: doubling Pell Grants and indexing the program to inflation; making public college free for families with an income below $125,000; and instituting a wide range of initiatives on student loan forgiveness. Also, being discussed are proposed massive new federal investments in historically Black colleges and universities and other minority-serving institutions, as well as a significant expansion of support for community colleges.

Among its first actions in January, the new administration could reverse several Trump-era executive orders, rules, and other policies that impact higher education.  In response, the higher education associations sent a letter to highlight priority regulatory actions the new administration should take to modify previous executive branch actions that affect students, educators, and institutions. The associations’ requests include: reinstating Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals protections; rolling back changes to Title IX regulations; and withdrawing the June 2020 interim final rule that restricts students’ eligibility to receive CARES Act funding.

AAU Transition Document

The American Association of Universities (AAU) is working to update and expand the “Recommendations to the 2020 Presidential Candidates” document to better reflect issues likely to receive positive reception in the Biden-Harris administration.  The document includes key policy recommendations ranging from federal student aid, funding for scientific research at government agencies, immigration reform for international students, and expanding support and broaden participation in STEM Degrees.

APLU Transition Document

The Association of Public Land Grant Universities (APLU) policy priorities document outlines important policy recommendations on issues ranging from higher education, research, agriculture and extension, and immigration. The document also includes a list of Trump administration executive orders and regulations we request be prioritized for repeal or amendment

AAMC Transition Document

The Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC)  has launched AAMC Transition 2020 web page that includes their transition document, Charting a New Course: The AAMC’s 2021 Policy Priorities to Improve the Nation’s Health for All, as well as a document that outlines AAMC expertise and experts in issues such as health care coverage, medical education, health equity, and combating the COVID-19 pandemic.  The document focuses on AAMC’s mission of providing health care, medical education, medical research, and community collaborations, with each area promoting and supporting the others. Through policies that affect health care delivery, research, education, health equity, and more, the federal government is a key partner in sustaining the vitality of the nation’s academic medicine ecosystem, which is essential to improving the health of all.


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