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ADVOCACY & POLICY UPDATE - August 14, 2023

HHS Announces Nursing Workforce Grants

Washington Update


Once August recess is over, lawmakers in both Chambers will have to make a serious bipartisan effort in order to pass all the federal spending measures and avert a government shutdown. Many House GOP appropriators are pessimistic about bipartisanship, claiming House Democrats aren’t giving them assistance in the process. It is almost certain that House Republican leaders will need help from across the aisle to avoid a government shutdown. Democrats will have to vote in order for Republicans to move any agreement to the House floor. House Republicans plan to hold an appropriations strategy call on Tuesday, August 15.

In a recent letter to colleagues, Congressman Chip Roy (TX) insisted on the enactment of a GOP plan to overhaul border and immigration laws or else he will oppose funding for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). Last month, Roy said he will oppose a rule setting up floor action on a short-term stopgap bill unless he secures the border changes he is asking for.

On Thursday, August 10, President Biden asked congressional leaders for about $40 billion in new emergency spending, complicating the government funding fight and passage of a short-term stopgap measure. Senate Appropriations Chair Patty Murray (WA) and ranking member Susan Collins (ME) said they are reviewing the request and plan to consult with senators on both sides of the aisle to draft a bill that will pass the Senate. Biden’s request includes more than $4 billion for border needs, however, it is still a non-starter for most conservatives, including Congressman Roy.

Click here to read the full letter.

Department of Health and Human Services

On Thursday, August 10, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced the award of more than $100 million to train and grow the nursing workforce and address increased demand for registered nurses, nurse practitioners, certified nurse midwives, and nurse faculty. The funding will go to training programs, be used for efforts to allow active nurses to continue developing additional skills, and a new nurse faculty loan program. The awards include $8.7 million for the Nurse Education, Practice, Quality and Retention-Pathway to Registered Nurse Program; $34.8 million through the Advanced Nursing Education Workforce Program; $30 million through the Advanced Nursing Education-Nurse Practitioner Residency and Fellowship Program; and $26.5 million through the Nurse Faculty Loan Program.

Click here to access a full list of award winners.

Department of Education

On Thursday, August 10, the U.S. Department of Education launched its $25 million Career-Connected High Schools grant program to provide more support to get high school students career ready through career and technical education. The program will provide grants to local educational agencies, higher education institutions, employers, school districts and other entities to pilot evidence-based strategies to increase the integration and alignment of the last two years of high school and first two years of postsecondary education to support education to career pipelines.

Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona, joined by Governor Jared Polis, Senator John Hickenlooper (CO) and Congressman Jason Crow (CO), made the announcement at the Unlocking Pathways Summit in Aurora, Colorado. The grant is part of the Raise the Bar: Unlocking Career Success initiative, which supports the Biden-Harris Administration’s larger education and economic agenda that promotes more skills-based learning to help young Americans obtain access to good-paying jobs.

Click here to read the full Department of Education blog post on the grant program.

Short-Term Pell Report

On Thursday, August 3, the Congressional Research Service released the report “Pell Grants for Short-Term Programs: Background and Legislation in the 118th Congress” that includes a comparison of three short-term Pell Grant bills in this session of Congress. The report includes proposed outcome metrics, such as earnings requirements, that would apply to eligible short-term pell programs.

Click here to access the report.

Davis-Bacon Final Rule

On Tuesday, August 8, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) announced the issuance of the final rule “Updating the Davis-Bacon and Related Acts Regulation” to update regulations that implement the Davis-Bacon Act and Davis–Bacon and Related Act to better reflect the needs of construction workers on federal construction investments. These updates will strengthen and streamline the process for setting and enforcing wage rates on federally funded construction projects to make sure that federal government infrastructure investments are also investments in U.S. workers.

The Department of Labor plans to provide compliance seminars on September 13th and 14th for contracting agencies, contractors, unions, workers, and other stakeholders to provide information on the final rule.

Click here to read the White House announcement on the rule.

Click here to read the full DOL blog post on the rule.

Click here to register for the DOL seminars.

Click here for FAQs and more information on the rule.

White House Council of Economic Advisers Appointment

On Friday, August 11, the White House announced that President Biden has chosen labor economist C. Kirabo Jackson to fill out his three-member Council of Economic Advisers. Jackson is currently a professor at Northwestern University, where he has focused his work on school funding, economics, education and public policy. According to the White House, in his research, Jackson has examined the role of teachers in the K-12 system, the causal impact of public-school spending on students, methods to measure impacts on the students’ socio-emotional skills, and other education-related subjects. This pick suggests that public education will play an important part of Biden’s economic policy as he strives toward re-election.

Click here to read the White House statement on the appointment.

Initial Jobless Claims

In the week ending August 5, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 248,000, an increase of 21,000 from the previous week's unrevised level of 227,000. The 4-week moving average was 231,000, an increase of 2,750 from the previous week's unrevised average of 228,250. The advance seasonally adjusted insured unemployment rate was 1.1 percent for the week ending July 29, unchanged from the previous week's unrevised rate.

Click here to access the report.

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