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NLN Capitol Connection - April 2017

Senate Finance Committee Approves Seema Verma for CMS
April 4, 2017

NLN Public Policy Workshop on June 5 and 6
Make Your #NLNVoices Heard in Washington, DC. Attend the inaugural NLN Public Policy Workshop and Advocacy Day on June 5 and 6, 2017.

Each and every day, legislators address major policies impacting nursing, health care, and higher education. This two-day workshop is designed to engage attendees in strategies for successful advocacy and meet with their members of Congress and their staff. On the first day of the workshop, attendees will learn about the NLN’s public policy and advocacy priorities, pressing issues before Congress, and the advocacy messages that resonate with Congressional members and staff. Attendees will engage as informed advocates to schedule and meet with Congressional staff of their respective representatives and senators on the second day of the workshop.

Register today for this inaugural event.

April 25th is #NLNVoices Day on the Hill
Each spring the NLN Board of Governors and Public Policy Committee visits Congress to discuss nursing’s priority issues. Wanting to spread the experience beyond the board, the NLN is encouraging its 40,000 members to participate virtually this year on Tuesday, April 25th at the 2017 #NLNVoices Day on the Hill. NLN members participating in the #NLNVoices Day on the Hill will be able to email, tweet, and post messages on Facebook to their Congressional delegation.

To participate in the 2017 #NLNVoices Day on the Hill, go to the NLN’s Advocacy Action Center, enter your contact information, and click the blue “Register” button. If you have responded to an NLN action alert in the past and clicked the “remember me” box at the bottom of the page, your contact information will already populate the information boxes. Once registered, you will receive a confirmation email with links to the #NLNVoices Day on the Hill page and resources. As #NLNVoices Day on the Hill approaches, registrants will receive an email detailing specific actions to take anytime on April 25th. Don’t delay, register today.

H.R. 959, Title VIII Nursing Workforce Reauthorization Act Introduced in the House
Representatives David Joyce (R-OH) and Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI) introduced H.R. 959, the Title VIII Nursing Workforce Reauthorization Act. H.R. 959 reauthorizes the Title VIII nursing workforce development programs at the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) with technical changes. H.R. 959 currently has 18 bipartisan cosponsors.

We need your help to encourage House members to become cosponsors. Tell your US representative to cosponsor H.R. 959. The NLN Advocacy Action Center allows you to quickly send an email to your Representative, Tweet a message to your Representative, and/or post a message on their Facebook page. Here’s how:
  1. Click on the alert link above.
  2. Choose the “write,” “tweet,” or “post” option.
  3. Enter your email and zip code.
  4. Click “continue.”
  5. Enter your information or verify your information.
  6. Click “Send message,” “Tweet,” or “Post to Facebook” based on the option you choose above.
Don't forget to pass this message on to another NLN member and share with your constituent league members.

Major Funding Cuts for Nursing in FY 2018 Budget Outline
On March 16, President Trump released his FY 2018 budget outline for defense and non-defense discretionary funding. The president’s budget did not include mandatory funding for Medicare and Medicaid. Below is a breakdown of items contained in the budget outline.

Department of Health and Human Services
bullet Eliminates $403 million in health professions and nursing training programs. The president’s budget continues to fund health workforce activities that provide scholarships and loan repayments in exchange for service in areas where there is a shortage of health professionals.
bullet In 2018, HHS funds their highest priorities, such as: health services through community health centers, Ryan White HIV/AIDS providers, and the Indian Health Service; early care and education; and medical products review and innovation.
bullet Supports direct health care services, such as those delivered by community health centers, Ryan White HIV/AIDS providers, and the Indian Health Service.
bullet Funds the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s (SAMHSA) substance abuse treatment activities. The budget outline also includes a $500 million increase above 2016 enacted levels to expand opioid misuse prevention efforts and to increase access to treatment and recovery services.
bullet Cuts National Institutes of Health's (NIH) funding by $5.8 billion to $25.9 billion. The president’s budget includes a major reorganization of NIH's institutes and centers to help focus resources on the highest priority research and training activities, including: eliminating the Fogarty International Center; consolidating the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality within NIH; and other consolidations and structural changes across NIH organizations and activities.
bullet Reforms key public health, emergency preparedness, and prevention programs. For example, the budget restructures similar HHS preparedness grants to reduce overlap and administrative costs and directs resources to states with the greatest need. The budget also creates a new Federal Emergency Response Fund to rapidly respond to public health outbreaks, such as Zika. The budget also reforms the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention through a new $500 million block grant to increase state flexibility and focus on the leading public health challenges specific to each state.
bullet Invests in mental health activities that are awarded to high-performing entities and focus on high priority areas, such as suicide prevention, serious mental illness, and children's mental health.

Department of Education
bullet Eliminates the Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant program to reduce complexity in financial student aid and save $732 million from the 2017 annualized CR level
bullet Safeguards the Pell Grant program by level funding the discretionary appropriation while proposing a cancellation of $3.9 billion from unobligated carryover funding
bullet Protects support for Historically Black Colleges and Universities and Minority-Serving Institutions, which provide opportunities for communities that are often underserved, maintaining $492 million in funding for programs that serve high percentages of minority students.

The next edition of the Capitol Connection will be published on May 2, 2017.

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