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Cotton wants cut in China students

U.S. Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., and his colleague, U.S. Sen. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., want to prevent Chinese nationals from pursuing graduate or postgraduate studies in science, technology, engineering and mathematics in the United States.

Among other things, the bill would also require "universities, laboratories, and research institutes receiving federal funding to attest that they will not knowingly employ participants in China's foreign talent recruitment programs," according to a summary provided by Cotton's office.

Earlier this month, a University of Arkansas engineering professor, Simon S. Ang, was arrested and charged with wire fraud. In order to obtain federal grant money, he is alleged to have concealed his Chinese government and business ties, making false statements along the way.

"The Chinese Communist Party has long used American universities to conduct espionage on the United States. What's worse is that their efforts exploit gaps in current law. It's time for that to end. The SECURE CAMPUS Act will protect our national security and maintain the integrity of the American research enterprise," Cotton said.

The legislation, which prevents Chinese nationals from receiving visas for graduate studies in these areas, makes exceptions for students from Taiwan, Hong Kong and for members of oppressed ethnic or religious groups.

If approved, the president would be authorized to grant national security waivers for individual students when warranted.

Critics say the legislation would bar some of the world's brightest students from the U.S.

"Ridiculous! Unimaginable damage to the US scientific community and leadership. This was not the message I got 15 yrs ago as a Chinese student coming to the US with dreams!," tweeted Yan Xia, an assistant professor of chemistry at Stanford University.

[CORONAVIRUS: Click here for our complete coverage » arkansasonline.com/coronavirus]

Hill touts 1918 flu, covid-19 survivor

More than a century after living through the 1918 Spanish flu pandemic, John W. Jones of Little Rock is now a survivor of covid-19.

The retired staff sergeant, who tested positive for the virus at age 101, turned 102 last week.

To mark the occasion, U.S. Rep. French Hill, R-Ark., sent Jones' family a flag that has flown over Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan. A second flag, which has flown over the U.S. Capitol, will be sent from Washington to Arkansas, Hill’s office said.

The lawmaker from Little Rock also entered a speech into the Congressional Record praising Jones' service to the country.

In the tribute, Hill referred to Jones as "one of Arkansas's great veterans" and noted his courageous battlefield service more than three-quarters of a century ago.

Jones participated in several Pacific campaigns, including the Battle of Okinawa. Wounded in combat, he was awarded two Bronze Stars and a Purple Heart, among other awards and medals.

Jones' family had alerted Hill about the milestone.

"Anytime we get a chance to honor our Greatest Generation in World War II, we take it up," the congressman said in an interview Friday, expressing thanks "for the decades of freedom that his hard work and sacrifice produced."

U.S. House gets schedule update

Members of the U.S. House of Representatives returned home after voting on legislation Wednesday and Thursday in Washington, D.C. Though individual committees will meet, it's unclear when the House will again gather.

According to a new calendar released last week, the full House is not yet scheduled to have any additional votes until June 30.

However, in a letter to colleagues Friday, Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md., noted that the House has already passed legislation expanding covid-19-related aid, forwarding the package to the Republican-controlled Senate.

"I expect, then, that the House will be in session at some point in June, once the Senate does act, for further Floor action on this critical issue," Hoyer wrote. "I will be providing Members with at least seventy-two-hours' notice of any Floor action relating to COVID-19 response legislation."

Regardless of what occurs in the Senate, House members have been told to expect votes on June 30, July 1 and July 2.

After a break that coincides with Independence Day, they're scheduled to return for votes July 20-31.

After the August recess, the House will be in session for much of September. On the afternoon of Oct. 2, lawmakers are scheduled to return to their districts. They plan to return Nov. 16 for five days before beginning their Thanksgiving recess.

Under rules recently passed by House Democrats, members who are not present can cast proxy votes, authorizing a lawmaker who is present to cast their vote for them.

An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated that a Capitol-flown flag had already been sent to the family of Staff Sgt. John W. Jones (Ret.) of Little Rock.

Planning to visit the nation's capital? Know something happening in Washington, D.C.? Please contact Frank Lockwood at (501) 908-5204 or flockwood@arkansasonline.com. Want the latest from the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette's Washington bureau? It's available on Twitter, @LockwoodFrank.

SundayMonday on 05/31/2020

Print Headline: Washington news in brief

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