Living through the COVID-19 pandemic in a nursing home, confined to her room with no visitation or organized activities, “was a nightmare,” Rose Marie Pardo recalled Tuesday.

But Pardo described the four certified nursing assistants who care for her at the Hancock Park Rehabilitation and Nursing Center in Quincy as her “dream team.”

Pardo told the Legislature’s Health Care Financing Committee she contracted COVID-19, spending two weeks in a dedicated unit, and said her roommate “died a terrible death” from the virus. She said the CNAs “put their lives on the line” to care for their patients and “went through hell day after day.”

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Rose Marie Pardo has lived at Hancock Park Rehabilitation and Nursing Center in Quincy for nearly six years.

“These CNAs provided care, comforted our fears, listened to our needs, and they were there when no one else could be there,” she said. “I am grateful for my dream team every day, but especially now, after the COVID-19 pandemic. It is time to recognize the commitment and dedication of the essential CNAs who work in our nursing homes.”

Speaking alongside Hancock Park administrator Adam Ernst, Pardo was one of a handful people to testify by video in support of bills dubbed the Nursing Home Quality Jobs Initiative, which were filed by Sen. Julian Cyr and Rep. John Lawn, the committee’s House chair.

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The bills (H 1287, S 759) would require MassHealth to “annually fund a living wage rate add-on for direct care staff of licensed nursing homes,” including CNAs and housekeeping, laundry, dietary, plant operations and clerical staff. They would also create a grant program for supervisory and leadership training for nursing facility workers, an “extended care career ladder grant program” and a tuition-reimbursement program for CNA training.

Sen. Harriette Chandler and Rep. Tom Golden also filed bills (S 742, H 1268) that aim to stabilize nursing home finances. Those bills, Massachusetts Senior Care Association President Tara Gregorio said, seek to modernize the state’s nursing facility funding formula to better reflect the current cost of resident care, including investments in the workforce.

“Today, nursing facilities have an urgent need to hire 6,000 nurses and CNAs,” Gregorio said. “Nursing facilities are simply unable to compete for job applicants, primarily due to their inability to offer competitive wages. As a result, 40 percent of direct care staff are working overtime, and over half of the commonwealth’s nursing facilities are denying or limiting admissions due to what many have described as the worst staffing crisis in our history.”

More:A GOOD AGE: Finding new lifelines to nursing home residents during COVID-19

Dr. Larissa Lucas of North Shore Physicians Group, a geriatric team that provides care at multiple nursing facilities, said nursing home staffing levels were “nearing a crisis point” before the pandemic, “and this crisis has now fully arrived.”

“This is a problem that is directly related to government funding of nursing home care,” she said.

Along with the nursing home bills,

Happy Friday and welcome to Overnight Defense. I’m Rebecca Kheel, and here’s your nightly guide to the latest developments at the Pentagon, on Capitol Hill and beyond. CLICK HERE to subscribe to the newsletter.

THE TOPLINE: Former Navy Secretary Kenneth Braithwaite was in the job for just eight months during the Trump administration, but reportedly spent about $2.4 million on air travel for 22 trips.

USA TODAY reported that Braithwaite, who was sworn in last May and resigned when President BidenJoe BidenAtlanta mayor won’t run for reelection South Carolina governor to end pandemic unemployment benefits in June Airplane pollution set to soar with post-pandemic travel boom MORE took office on January 21, traveled to more foreign and domestic locations than any other senior Pentagon civilian amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

By comparison: Other service secretaries took fewer trips in the same period, with then-Army Secretary Ryan McCarthyRyan McCarthyArmy report confirms Vanessa Guillén was sexually harassed before her death Pence pleaded with military officials to ‘clear the Capitol’ on Jan. 6: AP Alarming threat prompts early exit, underscoring security fears MORE embarking on 17 trips that cost roughly $900,000 and then-Air Force Secretary Barbara Barrett traveling to 19 destinations for a total $1.6 million, according to spokespeople from each service.

Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Army Gen. Mark MilleyMark MilleyOvernight Defense: US may keep training Afghan forces in other countries | Defense chief tight-lipped on sexual assault decision | ‘Swift’ return to Iran deal possible, US says US adds 12 fighter jets to protect Afghanistan withdrawal McConnell: Taliban could take over Afghanistan by ‘the end of the year’ MORE, meanwhile, took four trips in that time frame, and then-Defense Secretary Mark EsperMark EsperCourt declines to dismiss Amazon challenge against JEDI decision Inspector general chose not to investigate Secret Service in clearing of Lafayette Square: report The paradox of US-India relations MORE and his successor, acting Defense Secretary Christopher Miller, took a combined 15 trips.

Where did he go?: Among Braithwaite’s trips was a $232,000 excursion in January to the South Pacific’s Wake Island to record a farewell message to the Navy and Marine Corps.

The island is essentially a refueling stop and emergency landing strip thousands of miles from Hawaii where no sailors or Marines are stationed, Navy spokesman Capt. Jereal Dorsey told the outlet.

Braithwaite also flew to Norway, Italy, Greece, Japan and India, as well as several trips to Hawaii and a more than $24,000 flight to attend the Army-Navy football game with his family.

Braithwaite’s response: Braithwaite defended his travels in a statement to USA Today, claiming they were necessary to strengthen the Navy after recent crises, likely alluding to the scandal surrounding the coronavirus outbreak aboard the USS Theodore Roosevelt aircraft carrier.

“I am extremely proud of the record of accomplishments of Our Sailors and Marines during my tenure as Secretary, especially following such a tumultuous chapter in the Navy’s recent history of crisis following crisis as compared to our other