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Bipartisan Senate bill would make more green cards available to doctors, nurses

A bipartisan Senate bill, set for introduction when the chamber returns, would make it easier for doctors and nurses to obtain green cards.

The Healthcare Workforce Resilience Act, introduced by Sens. Dick DurbinDick DurbinWhitehouse says Democratic caucus will decide future of Judiciary Committee The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by the UAE Embassy in Washington, DC - Trump OKs transition; Biden taps Treasury, State experience Durbin seeks to become top-ranking Democrat on Judiciary panel MORE (D-Ill.) and David Perdue (R-Ga.), would allocate 40,000 unused, previously authorized immigrant visas to doctor and nurses who can work to treat coronavirus patients without increasing immigration numbers.

“The growing shortage of doctors and nurses over the past decade has been exacerbated by the COVID-19 crisis,” Perdue said in a statement. “Fortunately, there are thousands of trained health professionals who want to practice in the United States. This proposal would simply reallocate a limited number of unused visas from prior years for doctors and nurses who are qualified to help in our fight against COVID-19. This shortage is critical and needs immediate attention so that our healthcare facilities are not overwhelmed in this crisis.”

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“Consider this: one-sixth of our health care workforce is foreign-born. Immigrant nurses and doctors play a vital role in our health care system, and their contributions are now more crucial than ever. Where would we be in this pandemic without them? It is unacceptable that thousands of doctors currently working in the U.S. on temporary visas are stuck in the green card backlog, putting their futures in jeopardy and limiting their ability to contribute to the fight against COVID-19,” Durbin added.

Sens. Todd YoungTodd Christopher YoungShelton's Fed nomination on knife's edge amid coronavirus-fueled absences Grassley quarantining after exposure to coronavirus Rick Scott to quarantine after contact with person who tested positive for COVID-19 MORE (R-Ind.) and Christopher CoonsChris Andrew CoonsDemocrats face increasing pressure to back smaller COVID-19 stimulus Biden rolls out national security team Democrats brush off calls for Biden to play hardball on Cabinet picks MORE (D-Del.) also co-introduced the measure. The filing period for the recaptured visas would be limited to 90 days after the end of President TrumpDonald John TrumpMinnesota certifies Biden victory Trump tells allies he plans to pardon Michael Flynn: report Republican John James concedes in Michigan Senate race MORE’s emergency declaration due to the coronavirus pandemic.

“Our bill strengthens our health care workforce & improves access to care for Americans,” Durbin said in a statement Monday. “I encourage my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to join me & @sendavidperdue in support of these vital health care workers.”