President Donald Trump released his budget plan for fiscal year 2018 yesterday morning, presenting Congress with a blueprint for how he believes they should fund the federal government. Unfortunately the President’s proposed budget will weaken the nation’s health care system and jeopardize the scientific research that’s necessary to keep Americans healthy. The ANA opposes the President’s budget, and urges Congress to reject it in favor of a plan that doesn’t compromise health care in favor of political and partisan posturing.
The President’s budget, which represents his priorities but does not carry the power of the appropriations process controlled by Congress, makes a number of ill-considered cuts when it comes to the American health care system, including:
A $403 million reduction in funding for health professions and nursing workforce programs;
A $5.8 billion cut from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) budget, constituting a 22% reduction in funding for scientific research to find medical cures, and;
A decision to fold the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (ARHQ) into the NIH. Currently, AHRQ is the only federal agency mandated to conduct health services research.
“As the demand for high-quality health care intensifies, Congress must firmly invest in the nation’s largest health-care workforce, registered nurses. Decreasing funding by $403 million will significantly cripple efforts to effectively recruit, train and educate nurses for practice in rural and medically underserved communities,” said ANA President Pamela F. Cipriano, PhD, RN, NEA-BC, FAAN.
The ANA is instead urging Congress to provide $244 million to fund nursing workforce development programs, $160 million for the National Institute of Nursing Research, $380 million for the National Health Service Corps, and to restore AHRQ’s funding to at least $364 million in FY 2018.
Despite the organization’s concerns over these misguided cuts, the ANA does support the President’s call for a $500 million increase to expand opioid misuse prevention and treatment efforts.
This week in Washington will be filled with both cabinet and judicial confirmation-related activities. On Tuesday, the Senate will vote on Betsy DeVos’ nomination to become Secretary of Education. Following a frenetic week of both grassroots organizations mobilizing against her nomination and Republican defections by Senators Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski, it appears that DeVos is likely to win a close confirmation with Vice President Mike Pence casting the tie-breaking vote. Vice President Pence is ascribed the role of President of the U.S. Senate under Article One of the Constitution, and thus can cast a tie-breaking vote in the Senate. This would be the first time a cabinet nominee is confirmed by a Vice Presidential tie-breaking vote.
Later in the week (likely on Thursday), Senator Jeff Sessions (R-AL) will also have his own confirmation vote to become the nation’s Attorney General. Sessions’ vote was strategically timed to come after DeVos so that Republicans could count on his vote to confirm her nomination. Though Sessions’ confirmation will also be close, he will likely be confirmed along party lines with a 52-48 Senate Republican majority. Health and Human Services cabinet nominee, Rep. Tom Price (R-GA), may also have his confirmation vote later this week. The earliest his vote could take place is Friday morning.
Labor Secretary Nominee, and current CKE Restaurants CEO, Andrew Puzder, is scheduled to have his Senate confirmation hearing on Tuesday following four separate delays by the committee of jurisdiction. The Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor & Pensions refused to consider his nomination until all of his paperwork was completed and submitted to the Office of Government Ethics.
Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch is also barnstorming the Senate this week in the hopes that he too can win Senate confirmation later this spring. He’s scheduled to meet with some fourteen sitting Senators, most of whom are red-state Democrats who may control his confirmation fate.
On Wednesday, the House Democratic Caucus will head to Baltimore for a three-day retreat. Democrats are expected to hammer out a messaging and legislative strategy for the 115th Congress. They’ve branded the retreat with the theme “Fighting for All Americans.”
Stay tuned for more updates from Capitol Hill later this week.
In his first week as president, Donald Trump signed a series of executive orders aimed at delivering on the promises that he made during the campaign. Among those campaign pledges that Trump has already addressed: undoing the Affordable Care Act, building the US-Mexico border wall, lifting federal prohibitions on drilling, and banning refugees and citizens from Muslim countries as well.
Trump’s administration has also instituted a temporary communication ban at the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Health and Human Services. Although it’s not an executive order, Trump instructed those agencies to stop sending out news posts, specifically on social media.
While his executive orders might seem dramatic or even dystopian, it’s important to recognize that a signature does not necessarily indicate immediate action.
Newly inaugurated presidents typically sign sweeping executive actions during their first 100 days to demonstrate their commitment to constituencies. During President Obama’s first week, he signed roughly the same amount of executive orders as Trump — he famously closed Guantanamo on day one, but that prison remains operational (and could expand during Trump’s presidency).
Below you can check out a running list of Trump’s executive orders that we’ll continue to update as he enacts more.
Restricting abortion access – Trump reinstated the global gag order, also known as the Mexico City Policy, which was introduced by President Reagan in 1985. The policy prohibits federal aid to family planning organizations that counsel on or provide abortions.
Dismantling of the Affordable Care Act – With help from the Republican-held Congress, Trump initiated plans to dismantle Obamacare. On Jan. 23, he signed an order that will “minimize the unwarranted economic and regulatory burdens” of the Affordable Care Act. Essentially, this means that federal agencies do not have to comply with the law if it is fiscally straining.
Withdrawing from the Trans Pacific Partnership – Trump rejected Obama’s TPP trade deal and withdrew from the alliance, as he promised to do. His reasoning? Refusing to ratify the TPP might make it easier to keep jobs in America.
Renewing formerly banned drilling – Trump signed an order that would immediately renew construction of the North Dakota Access Pipeline that the Army Corps of Engineers halted in November. Additionally, Trump overturned Obama’s rejection of construction of the Keystone Pipeline, which would transport shale from Canada to the Gulf Coast.
Restricting immigration – The wall between Mexico and America will be built, according to another order signed by Trump. Responding to the threat of domestic terrorism, Trump has also signed a directive to block refugees from Syria from entering America as well as a 90-day halt on anyone from Iraq, Syria, Iran, Sudan, Libya, Somalia, or Yemen from entering the country, according to the New York Times. Syrian refugees will reportedly not be allowed to enter the country for an indefinite amount of time. Refugees from other countries will have their cases reviewed after a 120-day halt on processing.
Limiting federal regulations – Trump issued a somewhat vague order which requires the repeal of two federal regulations for every new regulation implemented. Aimed at limiting regulations for businesses, Trump described the order as beneficialfor reducing governmental regulations’ “damaging effects on our small business, our economy, [and] our entrepreneurial spirit.”
Restructuring of the National Security Council – In the midst of considerable backlash to his immigration ban, Trump quietly restructured the National Security Council. The president promoted his Senior Adviser, Steve Bannon, to a position on the council (which is typically reserved for Generals). The Joint Chiefs of Staff, who have historically advised the president on matters of National Security, were demoted to optional meeting attendance. The White House defended the reorganization by claiming the Joint Chiefs of Staff’s presence might not be required for every meeting and falsely claiming the order mirrored directives from Presidents W. Bush and Obama.