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AACN's Washington Weekly

Published August 11, 2021

American Association of College of Nursing - Washington Weekly - Your Inside Track to Federal Policy

Apply Now for an All of Us Research Program Mini-Grant Award

On August 5, AACN announced a call for applications for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) All of Us Research Program Mini-Grant Awards. Four awards of up to $10,000 are available for AACN member schools who commit to increasing awareness of this initiative. This program highlights the important need for more individuals from underrepresented communities to participate in biomedical research, which will have a direct impact on advancing cutting-edge cures and precision medicine. The submission deadline is Friday, October 1, 2021. Selected grantees will be announced in late October. To learn more, view the call for applications and the application.

Administration Extends Public Health and Higher Education Emergency Provisions

On July 19, the Secretary of Health and Human Services, Xavier Becerra, renewed the public health emergency declaration ahead of the July 20 deadline. This 90-day extension comes as the nation continues to confront the COVID-19 pandemic and the recent impact of the Delta variant. This emergency designation has been in effect since January 31, 2020. For full announcement and declaration, click here.

On August 6, the Department of Education announced an extension of the student loan payments freeze until January 31, 2022. This provides an additional six-months of relief for eligible loans, including suspension of payments, 0% interest rate, and stopped collections on defaulted loans. The Department has indicated this would be the “final extension” and comes as we neared the September 30 deadline. For more information on this announcement and how to prepare for repayments to resume next year, click here.

Senate Passes Bipartisan Infrastructure Legislation

On August 10, the Senate passed the INVEST in America Act (H.R. 3684) that would invest an additional $550 billion into infrastructure priorities, on a bipartisan vote of 69-30. While this legislation prioritizes more traditional infrastructure projects, it also addresses areas impacting public health and higher education, including broadband, personal protective equipment, and the Indian Health Service. In fact, this legislation provides $14.2 billion for the Affordable Connectivity Program, an extension of the Emergency Broadband Benefit passed at the end of last Congress, to help low-income households, including Pell Grant recipients, receive discounted broadband services. The INVEST in America Act now heads to the House of Representatives, which is expected to reconvene the week of August 23 to consider a budget resolution and this infrastructure package.

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