Senate passes bill to provide funding for Title VIII Nursing Workforce Development Programs

Last evening, the Senate passed the Defense/Labor Health and Human Services-Education (LHHS-ED) minibus by a vote of 85-7. For the first time in over a decade, the Senate’s LHHS-ED appropriation bill went to the floor. It provides level funding, or $249 million, for the Title VIII Nursing Workforce Development programs and $163 million for the National Institute of Nursing Research (a 3.9% increase from FY 2018 funding).

We wanted to update you that Senator Merkley (D-OR), along with Sens. Duckworth (D-IL), Booker (D-NJ), Menendez (D-NJ), Kaine (D-VA), and Van Hollen (D-MD), offered an amendment that requested an additional $17 million for Title VIII Nursing Workforce Development programs in FY 2019, which would have taken Title VIII to our original request level ($266 million). While filed, this amendment did not receive a vote; rather, it was symbolic of our Senate champions’ commitment to the Title VIII programs. The Steering Committee drafted a letter thanking the Senators for their support, which is attached to this email. We included the organizations that agreed the coalition’s request of $266 million as the amendment advocated for this level.

Coalition Updates and Action Items
Summer is ending, but our work continues! Please take a moment to review the updates below. We have seen a decline in responses from coalition members regarding action items (we are thinking August has been vacation time for many). It is important to have strong support to represent our policy priorities. Thank you for taking an extra moment to review!

  • UPDATE Opioids- The Steering Committee drafted a letter to Senate leadership urging them to include Section 3003, Allowing for More Flexibility with Respect to Medication-Assisted Treatment for Opioid Use Disorders, of the House-passed SUPPORT for Families and Communities Act (H.R. 6), in any final Senate opioid package. Since this policy is in line with The Opioid Crisis Response Act of 2018, we included all organizations that already supported this proposal.  Please see the attached letter.
  • UPDATE Title VIII- The Title VIII Nursing Workforce Reauthorization Act (S. 1109) now has 16 cosponsors in the Senate! Members of the Steering Committee continue to meet with key offices to garner additional support. We are still expecting this legislation will be taken up in the Fall.
  • ACTION ITEM: Appropriations- Now that the Senate has passed their version of the LHHS-ED appropriations bill, we need to advance the higher of the two levels for Title VIII and NINR in the final process. Please review the attached letter (which notes the members that are signed on to date), if your organization has not signed on, please let me know by Wednesday, August 29th.
  • ACTION ITEM: Secretary Wilkie- Please review the attached letter congratulating Secretary of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, Robert Wilkie on his confirmation (which notes the organizations that are signed on to date). This letter also includes a policy request that CRNAs be added to the full-practice authority ruling in the VA. Please let me know by Wednesday, August 29th if your organization would like to sign on.

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