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AACN's Washington Weekly

Published January 19, 2021

59th Presidential Inauguration: Biden-Harris Administration Takes Office Amid Public Health Crisis    

Today, Joe Biden was sworn in as the 46th President of the United States, and Kamala Harris was sworn in as the 49th Vice President, the first woman and person of color to serve in this role. This ceremony, titled “America United,” is different from previous years with scaled down celebrations due to tightened security and opportunities to attend virtually given the realities of COVID-19. To view inauguration activities online, click here.

Prior to their inauguration, the Biden-Harris Transition Team unveiled the American Rescue Plan, outlining immediate efforts to address the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. This framework, estimated at $1.9 trillion, focuses on the social, economic, and healthcare needs of our nation. The American Rescue Plan includes key provisions, such as:

  • $50 billion for COVID-19 testing;
  • $20 billion for a national vaccination program;
  • $35 billion for institutions of higher education for enhanced public health protocols,  increased social distancing measures, and emergency financial assistant to students; and
  • $30 billion for the Disaster Relief Fund and to fully utilize the Defense Production Act to help ensure supplies of personal protective equipment (PPE) are available to front-line responders, among others.

Following the release of this plan, AACN sent a letter to the Biden-Harris Transition team urging them to include our nursing schools, faculty, and students in their efforts, as we represent an underutilized, highly educated, and qualified workforce ready to assist with vaccine. In addition, AACN reiterated our sincere commitment to be active partners as the Biden-Harris Administration combats the pandemic. Read the full letter here.

As work on COVID-19 relief efforts unfold, we will continue to keep you informed. For more up-to-date information, follow us on Twitter @AACNPolicy or by clicking here.

Department of Education Makes More than $21 Billion Available to Support Colleges and Universities

On January 14, the U.S. Department of Education announced that $21.2 billion is now available to institutions of higher education as they respond to COVID-19. The majority of this federal funding is allocated for public and non-profit colleges and universities, with $681 million going to private for-profit schools. Funding may be used for student financial aid, lost revenue, student support activities, technology costs (including those that support distance learning), and to help cover payroll and training for faculty and staff. Public and private non-profit institutions that already have approved CARES Act Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund awards are not required to submit a new or revised application to receive additional funding. For more information on this grant opportunity and how to apply, please visit the U.S. Department of Education’s website by clicking here.

Register Today for AACN’s 2021 Virtual Student Policy Summit

AACN’s Student Policy Summit is going virtual! From March 1-31, 2021, baccalaureate and graduate nursing students enrolled at an AACN member institution may participate in recorded and live sessions to learn more about the policy process from leading experts. For the 2021 Summit, there is no limit on the number of students who can participate in this exciting virtual event. In fact, AACN member schools have the option to register students in three categories: individual students, Breakout (up to 5 students), or Class Pass (up to 10 students).  For more detailed information, the current agenda, or to register, visit the Student Policy Summit website. To sponsor the 2021  Summit, click here. We hope to “see” everyone in March!

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