Democrats Draft Fourth COVID-Response Bill; Trump Extends Social Distancing; Some Legislation Perpetuates Nursing Shortage

April 06, 2020 by Alec Stone MA, MPA, Former ONS Director of Government Affairs and Advocacy, and Samantha Karam Former ONS Staff Writer

Democrats Draft Fourth COVID-19 Response Bill 

On March 30, 2020, Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives began drafting ( a fourth COVID-19 coronavirus relief package to include substantial infrastructure investments, said Speaker Nancy Pelosi ( Pelosi said the legislation could be ready for a vote by late April.  

“Our first bills were about addressing the emergency. The third bill was about mitigation. The fourth bill would be about recovery,” Pelosi said on a conference call with the New York Times. “I think our country is united in not only wanting to address our immediate needs—emergency, mitigation, and the assault on our lives and livelihoods—but also how we recover in a very positive way.”  

Even the U.S. Congress is not immune from COVID-19 ( and its disruptions to normal processes. Breaking last week because of the pandemic, well before its typical the Easter recess, elected officials are not slated to return until late April. Stay-at-home orders could mean that congressional representatives may be in session during the summer, in an election year, rather than in the home districts campaigning.  

Trump Extends Social Distancing After ‘Arguing Strongly’ With Task Force 

Anthony Fauci (, MD, the U.S. government’s top infectious disease expert, said that the White House COVID-19 coronavirus task force ( strongly argued with President Trump about extending social distancing guidelines ( before he ultimately prolonged the safety measures ( for another month.  

In times of national crisis, the nation looks to the president to guide it through the emergency ( The Department of Health and Human Services, with agencies like the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, U.S. Food and Drug Administration, and National Institutes of Health, provides confidence that research and evidence-based practices are in place to navigate the unclear path, especially during a pandemic. Tension is high as the biomedical community sends one message ( and politicians attempt to reinterpret that information and present it differently.  

Get the latest pandemic information on ONS's COVID-19 resource page. (  

Some States’ Legislation Perpetuates COVID Nursing Shortage  

Nurses are in short demand ( at the forefront of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, and state governors in the most affected regions of the United States are begging for their aid. However, laws in some of those states, like California (, place restrictions on nurses’ scope of practice.  

Concrete options that incentivize nurses and break down barriers to care are needed, but those laws—which were in place since before the pandemic—create roadblocks to staffing hospitals during the crisis. Now is the time for states to ease up on scope-of-practice restrictions (  

Allowing nurses to practice to the full extent of their licensure will more quickly get credentialed nurses to the front lines of care for patients with COVID-19 ( Now more than ever, nurses may receive the support they deserve to overcome the shortages during a national emergency. 

Learn more about ONS’s recommendations for oncology nursing staffing reassignments during COVID-19 (

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