Last week Reps. Wexler (D-FL) and Sensenbrenner (R-WI) introduced the Emergency Nursing Supply Relief Act (HR 2536). While this is but one step in the legislative process, it is a critical first step. The American system has many built in "checks and balances" designed to insure that legislation is aptly considered.

The Bill will be referred to the Committee on the Judiciary. That Committee may refer it to subcommittee(s). This process is at the complete discretion of the leaders of that committee.

After the Committee has passed the bill, the bill can get offered for a vote to the House of Representatives, which is the lower American legislative body. Whether a vote is taken or not is subject to the Speaker of the House. If approved by the House, the Senate must then consider the legislation.

Upon approval from both the House and the Senate, the bill is immediately offered to the President who will almost certainly sign the bill into law. From time to time, the President can veto bills that have been passed by the Senate and the House, but this is a controversial political move and not one likely to be used against the ENSRA.

As you can tell the process is lengthy. For smaller legislation it is often difficult to clear all of the hurdles in one two-year Congressional term.

However, there is a second "shortcut" process. A bill may be attached to a bigger piece of legislation. This is the process that was used in 2005 to get the Schedule A EX visa bill passed. The Schedule A EX visa bill was attached to the 2005 Emergency Supplemental Appropriations Act.

The process of attaching a smaller bill to a larger one has a formal process of an amendment being offered and accepted. The formal process is, however, secondary to the informal process, which includes much behind the scene dialoging with powerful political leaders.

To some degree, the informal process began three years ago when it became apparent that the retrogression would resurface. The efforts have continued.

If you would like to aid in this process, and it is imperative that everyone who has a vested interest in the process does so. Please take the following steps:

If you are a hospital, long term care facility, please email your Representative. Here is a link to the Representative list. Here is the template email that you can send.

If you are a staffing company, please email your Representative. But use this
template email.

If you are an international nurse or Physical Therapist, then please contact your sponsoring hospital and/or staffing company and make sure that they are sending in these emails.

If you are an US citizen who believes that increased funding for domestic nurse schooling funded by a short-term visa program for these healthcare workers, then please send
in this email to your Representative.

-Chris Musillo