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Capitol Connection - October 4, 2016

Title VIII Nursing Workforce Reauthorization Act
October 4, 2016

House Removes Anti-APRN Provision from HR 5985
When legislation to extend expiring benefits and programs for our Veterans (HR 5985) was introduced last month with an anti-APRN provision (Sec. 415) tucked in, NLN members, colleagues, students, and our coalition partners contacted Congress by the thousands. And Congress listened. They removed that problematic anti-APRN provision from HR 5985, the Department of Veterans Affairs Expiring Authorities Act before both the House and the Senate passed the bill.

Thank you to all NLN members and friends who quickly contacted House members to protest the anti-APRN provision.To send a thank you to your House member, please visit the NLN Advocacy Action Center.

House Energy and Commerce Committee Passes H.R. 2713
H.R. 2713, the Title VIII Nursing Workforce Reauthorization Act of 2015, introduced by Representative Lois Capps (CA), reauthorizes grants and scholarships for graduate and undergraduate nursing education in specified areas of nursing. The legislation also amends the Public Health Service Act to include clinical nurse leaders as advanced education nurses making clinical nurse leader education programs eligible for advanced education nursing grants. Last month, the House Energy and Commerce Committee passed H.R. 2713 by voice vote. The next step in the legislative process for H.R. 2713 is the House floor. Please continue to urge Congress to support Title VIII reauthorization by cosponsoring H.R. 2713..

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Passage of Mental Health Bill Will Wait Until Lame Duck
A Senate vote on S. 2680, the Mental Health Reform Act of 2016 will likely have to wait until after the election, despite progress on a dispute over controversial provisions. S. 2680 strengthens federal coordination of mental health resources, increases reporting on mental health parity, advances integrated service delivery, supports the mental health workforce, and increases early access to mental health services. The Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee voted unanimously to pass S. 2680 in April. Tell your Senators to urge leadership to bring S. 2680 to the Senate floor as well as vote to #PassS2680.

Congress Funds Government Through December 9
Late last Wednesday, Congress approved federal funding that will provide $1.1 billion to fight the Zika virus, along with money necessary to keep the government running through December 9. The Senate vote was 72 to 26. Hours after the Senate approval, the House of Representatives followed suit, passing its bill by a 342 to 85 vote. Funding will go to Zika vaccine research and health care in the hard-hit southern states, such as Florida, as well as Puerto Rico. It also will be used to reduce exposure to mosquitoes carrying the virus. Conflicts that threatened to further drag out the budget process grew out of disagreements over flood relief for Louisiana and assistance for Flint, Michigan, which continues to deal with the effects of its toxic water crisis. But after House Speaker Paul Ryan (WI) and Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (CA) worked out an agreement to authorize $170 million in additional aid for Flint, the funding bill was able to pass Congress and keep the government open until after the elections.

The next edition of the Capitol Connection will be published on November 1, 2016.

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