AACN's Washington Weekly

Published June 10, 2020

Senators Hold A Hearing on Ways to Safely and Effectively Reopen Colleges

On June 4, the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee held a hearing on best practices to reopen colleges as safely and effectively as possible. Witnesses included Mitchell Daniels, President of Purdue University, Dr. Christina Paxson, President of Brown University, Dr. Logan Hampton, President of Lane College, and Dr. Georges Benjamin, Executive Director of the American Public Health Association. Solutions discussed include testing, hybrid courses, and reducing classroom occupancy. Dr. Hampton requested $1 billion for Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), tribal colleges and universities, and Minority-Serving Institutions (MSIs) and was joined by other panelists in highlighting the impact this pandemic is having on minority communities and low-income students. Other suggestions included doubling Pell Grants. This hearing also referenced a recent letter from more than 80 education groups, including AACN, requesting $46.6 billion to assist students during this unprecedented time. To view a recording of the hearing and read testimony from witnesses, click here.

AACN will continue to monitor Congressional Committee action on these important topics as it relates to COVID-19. For additional updates and new developments, please follow us on Twitter @AACNPolicy.

COVID-19 Legislative Update: AACN’s Coalition Activity

As we continue to combat COVID-19, AACN has been diligently working with our partner coalitions to advocate for academic nursing priorities. These priorities are based on feedback from AACN membership and align with AACN’s Federal Policy Agenda. In the past two months alone, AACN has signed onto 19 letters that have gone to Congressional Leaders and the Administration on a range of topics, such as: 

Advance Higher Education

  • June 5 letter urging Congress to support broadband access and investment, as well as extend the nation’s broadband infrastructure for colleges, universities, faculty, and students
  • May 29 letter urging Congress to include $46.6 billion in supplemental funding to support colleges and universities
  • May 28 letter urging Congress to pass limited liability protections for colleges and universities

Pursue Transformative Research

  • May 21 letter urging Congress to provide at least $50 million in supplemental funding for VA research to support COVID-19 research efforts
  • April 21 letter urging Congress to include $71 million for the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) to support evaluations and research related to the healthcare system’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic

Develop a Robust Workforce

  • May 4 Dear Colleague letter circulated by Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-IL-08) and more than 90 Representatives urging investments in the mental health of frontline healthcare workers

Redefine Models of Care

  • April 2 letter urging governors to temporarily suspend or modify barriers to ensure healthcare access, especially in telehealth services

A full list of letters that AACN has signed onto can be found on the AACN COVID-19 webpage and are updated weekly with additional activity.

Join AACN’s Nursing Voices, Nursing Votes Initiative

Join AACN’s nonpartisan initiative, Nursing Voices, Nursing Votes, alongside fellow nurses and nursing students in their commitment to vote this 2020 election season. Nursing Voices, Nursing Votes informs AACN member deans, directors, faculty, and students on upcoming caucus and primary dates, voter registration deadlines, and additional state-by-state voting resources, such as absentee voting and voting by mail. Once registered to vote, please complete the online form and join the conversation on Twitter @AACNPolicy and @AACNursing using #NursingVoicesNursingVotes.

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