House Passes Joyce Bill to Battle Nursing Shortage, Reauthorize Nursing Workforce Development Programs

WASHINGTON – Tonight, the U.S. House of Representatives passed Congressman Dave Joyce’s (OH-14) H.R. 728, Title VIII Nursing Workforce Reauthorization Act. Introduced in January 2019 by Dave and Representative Tulsi Gabbard (HI-02), who are both Co-Chairs of the Congressional Nursing Caucus, this bipartisan legislation would reauthorize programs and grants that support the recruitment and retention of professionals for our nation’s nursing workforce. The House passed H.R. 728 by a unanimous voice vote.

“Nurses are the backbone of our nation’s health care system,” said Dave. “As the proud husband of a nurse, I know full-well that any challenge facing our nurses hurts the health and wellbeing of America’s patient population. That’s why I introduced the Title VIII Nursing Workforce Reauthorization Act. With our nation on the verge of a nursing shortage, we must ensure that those interested in pursuing a career in nursing have access to the education and training opportunities necessary to do so. I thank my colleagues on the Congressional Nursing Caucus for their support in this effort, applaud the House for passing this critical legislation and urge the Senate to act quickly so we can get it signed into law as soon as possible.” 

Prior to the passage of his bill, Dave spoke on the House floor in support of the legislation, highlighting the need to reauthorize Title VIII programs to help battle our nation’s pending nursing shortage. To watch his full remarks, click here

The demand for nurses varies by state but it is estimated that the national need for nurses will increase by 28% by 2030. That need is in part due to the roughly 10,000 Baby Boomers turning 65 each day. To meet this increased demand, it is imperative that Congress reauthorize the Title VIII programs impacting nursing recruitment, education and retention. Title VIII programs directly invest in our nation’s health by addressing specific needs within the nursing workforce and America’s patient population. Importantly, these programs also provide targeted support for institutions that educate nurses for practice in rural and medically underserved communities, bolstering nursing education at all levels, from entry-level to graduate study. 

“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 Dave Joyce and the U.S. House of Representatives for passing this unanimously. ANA appreciates Mr. Joyce for his continued leadership on nursing issues.”

“I know firsthand the vital impact that Title VIII Nursing Workforce Development Programs have in nursing education, the nursing workforce, and the health of our nation,” said Dr. Ann Cary, Chair of the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) Board of Directors. “On behalf of AACN, we would like to thank Representative Joyce for his tireless dedication to the nursing profession, his leadership as a House Nursing Caucus Co-Chair, and for his instrumental role in introducing and passing this bipartisan legislation.”

“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, Co-Chair of the Congressional Caucus. “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.”

“Passage of this bill is a great example of how we continue to be focused on jobs and workforce training,” said Congressman Rodney Davis, 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.”

“Nurses serve our communities day and night, coming to our aid in times of need and protecting public health,” said Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici, 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.”

To read the text of H.R. 728, click here.

To watch Dave’s remarks on H.R. 728, click here.

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