The U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions on Thursday voted unanimously to advance three public health care bills introduced by Sen. Doug Jones, D-Alabama.
Speaking in a conference call with reporters Thursday morning Jones said the week has been busy for himself and his staff but that the work was paying off.
“This has been probably one of the most productive weeks for our office that we’ve had since I’ve been in the Senate, Jones said.
The Nursing WIN Act introduced by Jones and Sen. Todd Young, R-Ind., would allow nurses at health care facilities with critical nursing shortages to have a portion of their nursing education debt paid off through the NURSE Corps Loan Repayment Program, regardless of the facility’s tax status.
The program had initially been limited to public or non-profit facilities, then in 2002 it was opened up to include all types of facilities, but in 2007 it reverted back to just public or non-profit facilities. The Nursing WIN Act opens the program back up with the purpose of increasing the numbers of working nurses.
The United States Public Health Service Modernization Act of 2019 would establish a Ready Reserve Corps within the United States Public Health Service Commissioned Corps so that when Commissioned Corps Officers are relocated during disasters those reserve corp members can replace them and continue to provide vital health care.
The Scarlett’s Sunshine on Sudden Unexpected Death Act would provide grants to states to study sudden infant and young children deaths and finds ways to prevent them. It would also require regular reports to Congress with the number of those deaths and new recommendations for prevention.
Jones aso discussed with reporters in Thursday’s conference call the passage earlier in the week of an amendment to the FY2020 Agriculture Appropriations bill that Jones introduced to help heirs’ property landowners secure a clear title for their land.
“Heirs’ property is land that has been informally passed down within families, often for several generations, and can lead to costly legal complications and prevent landowners from qualifying for federal assistance,” Jones previously said of his amendment. “Heirs’ property is predominantly owned by African American farmers and producers and an estimated 60-percent of minority-owned land is projected to be heirs’ property.
“It’s a big deal for these families and a lot of whom are in Alabama,” Jones said Thursday. “It is going to provide jumpstart some funding on a program to help get these families back on track and who have been impacted by issues dealing with heirs property for generations.”