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AACN's Washington Weekly

Published August 05, 2020

BREAKING NEWS: Congress Introduces Legislation Investing in Nursing Education and Infrastructure 

This week, Senate Nursing Caucus Co-Chair, Jeff Merkley (D-OR), along with Representatives and Registered Nurses, Lauren Underwood (D-IL-14) and Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX-30), introduced the Future Advancement of Academic Nursing (FAAN) Act (S.4396/H.R.7945). The FAAN Act would invest $1 billion into schools of nursing to ensure nursing education pathways remain strong during public health challenges, such as the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Specifically, the FAAN Act would support schools of nursing, students, faculty, and academic nursing infrastructure by providing needed resources to: 

  • Enroll and retain nursing students; 
  • Support educational programs, including creating and modernizing curriculum and establishing nurse-led in¬tra¬dis¬ci¬plin¬ary and interprofessional educational partnerships;  
  • Hire and retain a diverse faculty to educate the future nursing workforce; 
  • Modernize technological and educational infrastructure;
  • Support schools of nursing, in partnership with facilities that provide health care, to establish or expand clinical education and; 
  • Support nurse scientists and researchers who are essential as future health challenges arise.

Act TODAY! Click here to email your Members of Congress urging them to cosponsor the Future Advancement of Academic Nursing (FAAN) Act (S.4396/H.R.7945) and include it in the next COVID-19 relief package. 

COVID-19 Legislative and Policy Update

Congressional Hearing on the U.S. Medical Supply Chain

On July 30, the Senate Finance Committee held a hearing focused on the U.S. medical supply chain during the COVID-19 pandemic. Nurses were among the witnesses at the hearing, including Dr. Ernest Grant, PhD, RN, FAAN, President of the American Nurses Association, and Cathy Denning, MSN, RN, Group Senior Vice President, Sourcing Operations, Analytics and Center of Excellence at Vizient. Witnesses discussed PPE supply, testing capabilities, and the mental health needs of healthcare providers. A key moment from the hearing came when Senator Pat Roberts (R-KS) highlighted: 

“All of the committee, thanks you and every nurse in America who has been working overtime with regards to this pandemic and saving lives.” 

To view a recording of the hearing, view opening statements, and read testimony from witnesses, click here

Senate Democrats Release their ‘Force to Fight COVID-19’ Proposal

On August 5, eleven Democratic Senators released their ‘Force to Fight COVID-19’ legislative proposal to be included in the next COVID-19 relief package. Two of the bills are top priorities for AACN: 

  • The Future Advancement of Academic Nursing (FAAN) Act (S.4396/H.R.7945): The recently introduced FAAN Act would invest $1 billion into schools of nursing to ensure nursing education pathways remain strong during public health challenges, such as the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
  • The Strengthening America's Health Care Readiness Act (S.4055): This bipartisan legislation would provide $1 billion in funding to the Nurse Corps Scholarship and Loan Repayment Programs and $5 billion in funding to the National Health Service Corps (NHSC), as well as create a National Health Service Corps Emergency Service demonstration project.

Take action today and ask your Members of Congress to include the FAAN Act and the Strengthening America's Health Care Readiness Act in the next COVID-19 relief package. Click here to read the Senate Democrats "Force to Fight COVID-19" letter to Congressional leadership. 

Donating COVID-19 Convalescent Plasma

On July 30, President Trump announced a call to action on the crucial role donating COVID-19 Convalescent Plasma, the liquid part of the blood from patients who have recovered from the disease, plays in combatting the virus. During his visit to the American Red Cross headquarters, the President urged recovered patients to donate their plasma. So far, under an expanded access program overseen by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, approximately 50,000 people have been transfused with this treatment. For more information on donating COVID-19 plasma, 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.

FY 2021 LHHS-ED Appropriations Bill Passes in Minibus Spending Package

On July 31, the House of Representatives passed their second Fiscal Year (FY) 2021 minibus spending package, which included the Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education (LHHS-ED) bill, by a vote of 217-197. The House LHHS-ED bill included $269.972 million, a $10 million or 3.84% increase, for Title VIII Nursing Workforce Development Programs and $170.567 million, a $1.454 million or 0.86% increase, for the National Institute of Nursing Research (NINR). The House Appropriations Committee also has included an Amendment Tracker detailing a list of amendments to this minibus. Based on an initial assessment of these amendments that were adopted during House Floor consideration, we are seeing an additional investment of $5 million to the Nurse Corps Loan Repayment Program! While the appropriations process is moving in the House, activity in the Senate has not yet been scheduled. 

View the current AACN funding chart here, which will be updated as the appropriation’s process continues.

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