AACN's Washington Weekly

Published March 19, 2020

AACN’s President and CEO Dr. Deborah Trautman Meets with the Administration at White House Briefing on COVID-19

Yesterday, March 18, AACN President and CEO, Dr. Deborah Trautman, attended a meeting with President Donald J. Trump, Vice President Mike Pence, and members of the White House Coronavirus Task Force to discuss nurses’ response to COVID-19. Dr. Trautman highlighted the integral role of academic nursing in combatting this public health challenge and discussed steps necessary to keep the nursing workforce safe and engaged as they continue to treat patients. In addition, Dr. Trautman outlined that our nurse educators, deans, directors, faculty, and students are leaders on campus and in their home communities who are committed to ensuring that our nation remains healthy and strong. Additional key points that were highlighted during this briefing include: 

  • Ensuring the safety of the public, including our nurses and nursing students, during this healthcare challenge;
  • Allowing for flexibility in federal grants and rules to accommodate this unprecedented event;
  • Ensuring that federal student loans remain uninterrupted; and
  • Enhancing broadband’s capacity, capability, and accessibility.

To learn more about this briefing see AACN’s press release, remarks from the White House, and more coverage at @AACNPolicy

AACN remains proud to serve our membership through continued education, communication of best practices, and dissemination of information.

Federal Updates as Congress and the Administration Address COVID-19

As we face this public health challenge across the globe, we are committed to providing accurate resources and updates to our membership on COVID-19. Below are a series of legislative and policy developments that have occurred over the past few days:
  • Passage of H.R. 6201, the Families First Coronavirus Response Act 
    On March 14, the House passed H.R. 6201 by an overwhelming bipartisan vote of 363-40.  On March 18, the Senate followed suit by passing this bill by a vote of 90-8. Upon passage the President signed it into law. H.R. 6201 is the second COVID-19 legislation passed by Congress and includes the following key provisions:
    •  Provides $1 billion in food aid;
    • Expands free testing for COVID-19;
    • Institutes temporary paid sick leave;
    • Includes $64 million to the Indian Health Service.
  • Breaking News: Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell Released Phase Three COVID-19 Stimulus Plan
    Earlier this morning, AACN learned that a possible phase three COVID-19 package was being considered. In response to this news, AACN rapidly responded by sending a letter to House and Senate Leadership. AACN is still reviewing the contents of this draft legislation, but our letter outlines key legislative priorities that we would like included in any COVID-19 package. This includes:
    • Reauthorize Title VIII Nursing Workforce Development Programs;
    • Increase Funding for Title VIII Nursing Workforce Development Programs and the National Institute of Nursing Research (NINR);
    • Guarantee the Safety and Health of Nurses and Nursing Students;
    • Safeguard Federal Student Loans and Aid;
    • Ensure Strong Broadband Capacity, Capability, and Accessibility.
      For the full letter AACN sent to the Hill, click here.
  • Administration Action and Response
    • On March 17, the White House and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention presented the 15 Days to Slow the Spread guidelines on how to slow the spread of COVID-19. This includes avoiding social gatherings of more than 10 people, practicing good hygiene, and avoiding non-essential travel.
    • On March 18, the Administration released a $48 billion emergency spending request to support agencies as they combat COVID-19. This includes:
      • $150 million to the Department of Education to help schools respond to the unforeseen issues arising from COVID-19 and
      • $16.6 billion to the Department of Veterans’ Affairs to ensure uninterrupted care for our Nation’s veterans. More information on this funding request can be found here;
    • The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has issued guidelines for late applications, financial assistance, and research studies affected by the virus. NIH has expressed that they will be looking at each application on a case-by-case basis but will do their utmost to be flexible and accommodating.
AACN continues to monitor Congressional and Executive action in response to the coronavirus outbreak. For updates and new developments, please visit AACN’s website and follow us on twitter at @AACNPolicy.