During today’s White House press conference, President Trump highlighted some of his Administration’s early executive actions, including a government-wide hiring freeze. Late last week we learned that nurses would be exempt from the order.
Inside Health Policy obtained a copy of the guidance issued by HHS Acting Deputy Secretary Coleen Barros, which detailed the agency’s intentions for implementing the President’s January 23rd Executive Order.
The memo identifies occupations related to public health and medical emergencies under statute, including the Public Health Service Act, the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act, the Social Security Act, as well as initiatives related to the opioid epidemic, pandemic influenza, Ebola and Zika.
Earlier this week, we recapped the flurry of confirmation activity we expected during the week of February 6th-10th. Congress barnstormed through a series of contentious confirmation votes.
On Tuesday, the Secretary of Education nominee, Betsy DeVos, was confirmed by a slim 51-50 vote in the Senate with Vice President Pence casting the tie breaking vote. The following day, Senator Sessions was confirmed almost entirely along party lines with a 52-47 vote to have him lead the Justice Department as Attorney General. In a procedural move, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell prevented Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) from reading a letter opposing Sessions’ nomination for a federal judgeship written by civil rights icon Coretta Scott King to the U.S. Senate back in 1986; McConnell invoked Rule 19 of the Senate Rules. The rule, which states that ‘No senator in debate shall, directly or indirectly, by any form of words impute to another Senator,’ is rarely invoked and thus drew widespread criticism. Unsurprisingly, the procedural silencing only drew wider attention to the now famous letter.
On Wednesday, the President’s nominee for the Supreme Court, Neil Gorsuch, told Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) that he found the President’s comments on the judiciary both “demoralizing” and “disheartening.” Senate Democrats, however, continue to cast doubt over Gorsuch’s ability to be an independent judicial check on the President’s authority.
Congressman Tom Price (R-GA), on Friday, was confirmed by a vote of 52-47 to become Secretary of Health and Human Services. Following extensive debates over ethics and Price’s investments in healthcare companies he had jurisdiction over as a member of Congress, Republicans called the early morning roll-call vote at about 2:00 AM. He was sworn in later that morning by Vice President Mike Pence.
Lastly, the ninth circuit federal court of appeals unanimously ruled to uphold a lower court’s ruling blocking President Trump’s travel ban from seven majority-Muslim countries. The lawsuit was filed by the Washington state Attorney General, and is a significant setback for a Presidency that’s only three weeks old.
Yesterday, Congressman David Joyce (R-OH), joined by a bipartisan group of colleagues, including Reps. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI), Doris Matsui (D-CA), Rodney Davis (R-IL), Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR), Patrick Meehan (R-PA), and Kathy Castor (D-FL), introduced the Title VIII Nursing Workforce Reauthorization Act of 2017, (H.R.959).
Since the start of the 115th Congress, ANA has been working with key champions in the House to re-introduce the Title VIII Nursing Workforce Reauthorization Act, legislation that incentivizes nurses practicing in rural and medically underserved communities, and supports advanced nursing education, diversity grants, National Nurse Service Corp, nurse faculty loan forgiveness, and geriatric education.
ANA is currently working with its Senate champions to introduce companion legislation in the coming weeks. In the meantime, we’ll be busy gathering cosponsors and pushing to advance the bill.
Last year we successfully passed the Title VIII Nursing Workforce Reauthorization Act in the House but ran out of time in the Senate.
Help us push these critical programs over the finish line by contacting your Members of Congress.