President Joe Biden on Monday met with a group of bipartisan House and Senate lawmakers — all former governors or mayors — to discuss a legislative vehicle for his $2 trillion American Jobs Plan proposal to improve infrastructure. The plan calls for safeguarding critical infrastructure and services, including hospitals.
Meanwhile, senators on both sides of the aisle have expressed interest in a less costly, more targeted infrastructure package, potentially with a price tag of about $800 billion. It is unclear if such a bipartisan compromise could be brokered. Some Democratic lawmakers have discussed first pursuing a smaller bipartisan legislative package and then using the budget reconciliation process to pass the party’s remaining infrastructure priorities.
Hearing on CMS, HHS Nominees
The Senate Committee on Finance last week held a hearing to consider the nominations of Chiquita Brooks-LaSure as administrator of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services and Andrea Palm as deputy secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services. The hearing was not contentious, and the committee is expected to advance the nominations to the Senate floor.
House Passes Health Care Workplace Violence Prevention Bill
The House on Friday voted 254–166 to pass the Workplace Violence Prevention for Health Care and Social Service Workers Act (H.R. 1195); 38 Republicans supported the measure. This legislation would require the Department of Labor to issue standards, through the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, for hospitals and other health care and social service providers to develop and implement plans to prevent workplace violence.
Despite bipartisan support in the House, the legislation faces an uncertain path forward in the Senate.
Hearings of Note
The Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee scheduled an April 20 hearing to examine COVID-19 recovery, focusing on supporting workers and modernizing the workforce through quality education, training, and employment opportunities.