House Passes Rep. Tulsi Gabbard Bill to Address America’s Nursing Needs

October 28, 2019
Press Release
Washington, DCToday, the House passed H.R.728, the Title VIII Nursing Workforce Reauthorization Act, a bipartisan bill introduced by Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (HI-02) and Rep. Dave Joyce (OH-14) who are co-chairs of Congressional Nursing Caucus. The bill would reauthorize federal funding for nursing workforce and education programs to help grow and support the nursing workforce in the United States.
The bill passed the House by voice vote. It now goes to the Senate for consideration.
“There is a dire need of nurses all across this country, with rural and underserved communities most negatively impacted. Nurses are the heartbeat of our healthcare system, and this shortage is a crisis that impacts everyone,” said Rep. Tulsi Gabbard. “This bill will help make it easier to educate, train, and grow the number of nurses across the country. The Senate must quickly take up and pass our bipartisan bill so that we can build the 21st Century nursing workforce we need.”
“As the proud husband of a nurse, I know full-well that nurses are the backbone of our nation’s health care system,” said Rep. Dave Joyce, Co-Chair of the Congressional Nursing Caucus. “Any challenge facing nurses hurts the wellbeing of the American people. Unfortunately, we are on the verge of a nursing shortage that will leave far too many without the care they need. That’s why my colleagues and I on the Congressional Nursing Caucus introduced this bill to ensure that those interested in pursuing a career in nursing have access to the education and training opportunities necessary to do so. I applaud the House for passing this important legislation and urge the Senate to act quickly so we can get it signed into law as soon as possible.”
“Nurses serve our communities day and night, coming to our aid in times of need and protecting public health,” said Rep. Suzanne Bonamici (OR-01), Vice Chair of the Congressional Nursing Caucus. “I'm grateful that the House passed this legislation to update and fund Title VIII, which will help nurses receive the training & support they need to be successful in their service. I look forward to continuing to work with my Congressional Nursing Caucus co-chairs on efforts that benefit nurses and our communities.”
“Passage of this bill is a great example of how we continue to be focused on jobs and workforce training,” said Rep. Rodney Davis (IL-13), Vice Chair of the Congressional Nursing Caucus. “My wife is a nurse educator so I know firsthand the struggles faced by the nursing workforce. This bill will help prevent a nursing shortage by focusing on recruitment, retainment, and continued education for nurses. I thank my colleague Rep. Joyce and all of the members of the Congressional Nursing Caucus for their leadership on this bipartisan bill.”
“For over five decades, Title VIII Nursing Workforce Development Programs continue to ensure a robust and diverse nursing workforce,” said Dr. Ann Cary, Chair of the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) Board of Directors. “We applaud Representative Gabbard for advancing the reauthorization of these vital programs, her support as House Nursing Caucus Co-Chair, and for her dedication to the nursing profession.”
“On behalf of AACN, nursing educators, and the next generation of nurses, we would like to sincerely thank Representative Gabbard for her commitment to passing the Title VIII Nursing Workforce Reauthorization Act of 2019,” said Dr. Deborah Trautman, President and Chief Executive Officer of AACN. “Title VIII programs are instrumental to ensuring a robust nursing pipeline and we are elated to see this bipartisan legislation pass the House.”
“Title VIII is the largest source of federal funding for nursing education.  These programs are vital to prepare nurses to provide care across all practice settings and in rural and medically underserved communities,” said American Nurses Association President Ernest Grant, PhD, RN, FAAN. “I want to thank Representative Tulsi Gabbard and the U.S. House of Representatives for passing this unanimously. ANA appreciates Rep. Gabbard and her continued leadership on nursing issues.”
Background: Rep. Tulsi Gabbard is a Congressional leader in efforts to help America’s nurses and strengthen the U.S. nursing workforce. She is the co-chair of the Congressional Nursing Caucus and introduced the bipartisan H.R.728, the Title VIII Nursing Workforce Reauthorization Act with caucus co-chair Rep. Dave Joyce (OH-14) along with the caucus Vice Chairs, Reps. Suzanne Bonamici (OR-01) and Rodney Davis (IL-13) and Reps. Kathy Castor (FL-14), Doris Matsui (CA-06), David McKinley (WV-01), and Lauren Underwood (IL-14).
Since its introduction it has 130 cosponsors. In July, the House Energy and Commerce Committee passed the bill unanimously and it was reported out of committee last month.
Rep. Tulsi Gabbard continues to work for improved workplace safety and standards for nurses. She fought for the Safe Staffing for Nurse and Patient Safety Act of 2018, the Health Care Workplace Violence Prevention Act, and hosted a Congressional briefing focused on the severe shortage of nurses in Hawai‘i and across the country.
She recently joined her colleagues in introducing the Nurse Staffing Standards for Hospital Patient Safety and Quality Care Act, which would set minimum nurse-to-patient staffing requirements for direct-care registered nurses, requires a study of staffing requirements for direct care licensed practice nurses, and provides whistleblower protections.
The Title VIII Nursing Workforce Reauthorization Act provides the largest source of federal funding for nursing education, offering financial support for education programs, individual students, and nurses. For five decades, these programs have helped build the supply and distribution of qualified nurses in all health care settings, from entry-level preparation through graduate study. According to the HRSA, these programs provided loans, scholarships, and programmatic support to over 450,000 nursing students and nurses between FY 2006 and 2012 alone.
About Rep. Tulsi Gabbard: Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard is serving her fourth term in the United States House representing Hawaii’s Second District, and serves on the House Armed Services and Financial Services Committees. She previously served on the House Foreign Affairs Committee and Homeland Security Committee. She was elected to the Honolulu City Council in 2010, and prior to that at age 21, was elected to the Hawaiʻi State Legislature in 2002, becoming the youngest person ever elected in the state. Tulsi Gabbard has served in the Hawaiʻi Army National Guard for 16 years, is a veteran of two Middle East deployments, and continues to serve as a Major. Learn more about Rep. Tulsi Gabbard...
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