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Lawmakers continued to spar over officials’ plans to finalize a first-ever nursing home staffing mandate as hearings poked through every layer of President Biden’s latest budget proposal.

Rep. Linda Sanchez (D-CA) defended the rule as “long overdue and necessary,” citing its exemptions for rural and other providers who struggle to hire. “It’s not one-size-fits-all,”
she remarked.

Rep Greg Murphy (R-NC) asked HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra to pause implementation given still-rampant shortages in the healthcare workforce. The urologist and former medical center director said private investors are not to blame.

“That’s not the reason we can’t put nurses in nursing homes. We don’t have the nurses,” he said. “I’m fine if we work on some program to get nursing homes up to par. I believe it’s absolutely necessary. But you can’t make them [nurses] out of thin air.”