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Capitol Connection - November 1, 2016

Title VIII Nursing Workforce Reauthorization Act
November 1, 2016

Congressional Priorities for Conclusion of 114th Congress
Congress returns the week of November 14 to deal with many unfinished issues before adjourning the 114th Congress at the end of the year. Below is a list of the most pressing Congressional issues.

Mental Health Reform
Leadership in the House and Senate have both indicated support for mental health reform legislation (H.R. 2646, S. 2680) when they return to Washington after the election. Many groups, including the NLN, will join a coordinated advocacy campaign during the week of November 14 that will urge members of Congress to take up and pass mental health reform before this session of Congress adjourns. The NLN joined a similar push in early September and we encourage you again to join in this effort. Send an email, tweet, or Facebook post today.

When Congress returns after the November election, they are scheduled to be in session for three weeks – a total of just 12 legislative days – before the December 9 government funding deadline that lawmakers set with the continuing resolution (CR) they passed last month. They have 11 appropriations bills left to get to the president’s desk to avoid another CR for those agencies. House speaker Paul Ryan (WI) and Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell (KY) want to finish the year’s spending negotiations with a series of small funding packages known as minibuses. But a short legislative calendar, a lack of preparation, and concerns about the piecemeal approach make that goal a difficult one to achieve.

The NLN supports $244 million for the Title VIII nursing workforce development programs at the Health Resources and Services Administration.

21st Century Cures
Majority leader McConnell and Speaker Ryan have publicly stated that this bill is a priority for them in the lame-duck session. Despite the desire in both parties to get the bill done, it has been delayed for months as negotiators have struggled to find a bipartisan way to pay for the billions of dollars in new funding for medical research.

House lawmakers, led by Energy and Commerce Committee chairman Fred Upton (MI), are looking to introduce a new (possibly slimmed down) version of the bill in the House, in consultation with the Senate. That new measure could pass the House and then the Senate in the lame-duck session.

Why Is Voting Important?
Through elections, citizens have the ability to decide on who represents them in government, be it a local official, a state or national representative, or the president. With a government that is elected by its citizens and that affects every aspect of our lives from schools to health care to homeland security, voting is an important right in our society. By voting, you are making your voice heard. Don’t forget to make your voice heard on November 8, 2016.

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The next edition of the Capitol Connection will be published on December 6, 2016.

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