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AACN's Washington Weekly

Published July 15, 2020

House Appropriations Committee Advances FY 2021 LHHS-ED Bill

On July 13, the House Appropriations Committee advanced the Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education (LHHS-ED) Fiscal Year (FY) 2021 funding bill on a 30-22 party line vote. The House LHHS-ED report and bill included:

This is a strong start to the FY 2021 appropriation process and a true testament to AACN’s unified advocacy efforts. In fact, AACN Advocates sent more than 1,000 messages to the Hill calling for increased funding for Title VIII Nursing Workforce Development Programs, the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and the National Institute of Nursing Research (NINR) in FY 2021. The House of Representatives is expected to vote on the LHHS-ED appropriations bill before they depart for the August District Work Period, which is currently set to begin on August 3. AACN will continue to monitor the FY 2021 appropriation conversations as they advance in the House and Senate. View the current AACN funding chart here.

COVID-19 Legislative and Policy Update: Committee Action and Federal Partnerships

As Congress and the Administration continue to address the COVID-19 pandemic, AACN has been actively monitoring issues such as coronavirus testing and the future of higher education as it relates to the current public health challenge, including:

  • On June 26, AACN commented on Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee Chairman, Lamar Alexander’s (R-TN), white paper, Preparing for the Next Pandemic. AACN recommendations included the need for increased funding for broadband infrastructure, instituting partnerships to prepare the next generation of nurses, improving state and local capacity to respond, additional personal protective equipment (PPE), and improving federal agency coordination during public health emergencies. To read AACN’s full response, click here.
  • On June 30, the Department of Health and Human Services announced the extension of its private-public partnership with national pharmacy and grocery retail chains, including CVS, Rite-Aid, and Walgreens. These partnerships have helped establish more than 600 COVID-19 testing sites that have tested more than 750,000 people. Approximately 70% of these testing sites are located in underserved communities. To read the press release, click here.
  • On July 7, the House Education & Labor Higher Education and Workforce Investment Subcommittee held a hearing on the impact of COVID-19 on the future of higher education. Leaders within the higher education community highlighted the systemic inequities that exist, the need to address issues such as mental health and housing, and how broadband connectivity and resources are necessary as institutions address the digital divide, internet access, and lack of digital infrastructure. As institutions look ahead to the fall, witnesses highlighted that testing and liability protections also need to be addressed. Overall, this hearing outlined the need for additional federal resources as this pandemic truly has impacted all areas of higher education. To view a recording of the hearing and read testimony from witnesses, click here.

For updates on COVID-19 legislative and policy action, please follow us on Twitter @AACNPolicy and visit AACN’s Advocacy and Policy COVID-19 Efforts webpage.

AACN Attends Virtual Event on the Future of Healthcare

On July 9, AACN attended a series of webinars titled Health Reimagined: The Future of Healthcare. These webinars featured more than twenty speakers including Dr. Anthony Fauci, Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases; Alex Azar, Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services; Dr. Robert Redfield, Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; and Congresswoman Lauren Underwood (D-IL-14). Speakers discussed the importance of not only addressing the current COVID-19 pandemic, but future pandemic preparedness as well. They also discussed ways to protect our frontline providers, the need for preventative and mental health coverage, the rise of telehealth, and benefits of global partnerships. Congresswoman Underwood specifically highlighted the racial disparities present in COVID-19 cases and stressed that these disparities point to even deeper societal inequities. To view a recording of this event, click here.

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