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AACN's Washington Weekly

Published May 13, 2020

COVID-19 Legislative Update: House Democrats Release HEROES Act and Other Congressional Action

On Tuesday, May 12, House Democrats released H.R. 6800, the Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions (HEROES) Act. This $3 trillion package includes $500 billion in funding for states and $375 billion for local governments to help first responders, frontline health workers, and others. This bill also includes some of AACN’s priorities, such as more than $100 billion for education funding, which can support higher education, Historically Black Colleges and Universities and other Minority Serving Institutions, and training and professional development for college and university faculty and staff to use technology and services related to distance education. The HEROES Act also includes monies to subsidize home internet connections for certain college students, broadband provisions, monies for frontline workers, and student loan forgiveness. 

The House is expected to vote on this legislation as early as Friday, May 15. AACN will monitor as discussion on further COVID-19 legislative packages continue. For a one page summary on the HEROES Act, click here; for a section-by-section summary, here; and for resources on the state and local relief provisions, here.

Additionally, Congress has held multiple hearings, some with members of Congress attending virtually,  on the nation’s ongoing COVID-19 response. AACN has been covering these hearings, including: 

  • On May 6, the House Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education Appropriations Subcommittee held a hearing focused on a potential vaccine and the need to balance public health with economic stability. Former CDC Director, Dr. Tom Frieden and Senior Scholar at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security, Dr. Caitlin Rivers testified before this committee. To learn more and to view a recording, click here.
  • On May 7, the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee held a hearing  on access and quality of COVID-19 testing. Witnesses included National Institutes of Health (NIH) Director, Dr. Francis Collins, and Acting Director of the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA), Dr. Gary Disbrow who also focused on research and initiatives that determine therapeutic interventions and vaccines. To learn more and to view a recording, click here.
  • On May 12, the Senate HELP Committee held a hearing on how students can safely return to school and Americans return to work. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Director, Dr. Anthony Fauci, CDC Director; Dr. Robert Redfield, Assistant Secretary of Health at the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS); ADM Brett Giroir; and FDA Commissioner, Dr. Stephen Hahn, testified and further discussed plans to create goals for testing, surveillance strategies, and contact tracing. To learn more and to view a recording, click here.

For updates and new developments, please follow us on Twitter at @AACNPolicy.

Celebrating National Nurses Week: May 6-12

AACN is proud to celebrate and honor our current and future nurses this week and throughout the year. Please see AACN’s shared message of gratitude below. 

In addition, Congress and the Administration have honored nurses during National Nurses Week by:

  • Introducing National Nurses Week Resolutions: Congress introduced H. Res. 951 and S. Res. 561, resolutions that support the goals and ideals of National Nurses Week and honor our nursing students, researchers, and nursing workforce throughout the country. 
  • Releasing Statements Supporting National Nurses Week: The HHS Secretary, Alex Azar, released a statement recognizing the work of nurses around the country during these unprecedented times. The U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) Secretary, Mark Esper, and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Mark Milley, also thanked nurses who are on the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Thank you for celebrating National Nurses Week with us and thank you for all you do! 

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