As a House of Representatives vote Friday stalled Fast Track authority for the Trans-Pacific Partnership, National Nurses United (NNU)--the largest organization of nurses in the country--has announced that its 190,000 members are doubling down pressure on Congress to derail Fast Track for good.
Nurses say they are mobilizing now, as the House expects to vote this week on a motion to reconsider whether to move Fast Track forward. To date, nurses have rallied tens of thousands of emails and calls urging Congress to vote 'No' on Fast Track; thousands of nurses mobilized over the weekend alone, in a last-minute push for Congress to hold the line. NNU is also sending a letter to Capitol Hill, asking all Members of Congress to vote no on the Motion to Reconsider and on the TAA bill.
"Congress did right by the American people on Friday, protecting jobs, public health, the environment and our very democracy against a secret trade deal that would complete the corporate take over of our country," says NNU Executive Director RoseAnn DeMoro.
Nurses emphasize today's "trade" agreements impose constraints over matters that impact everyday life and have more to do with entrenching corporate power than they do about trade. For example, of the TPP's 29 chapters, only five are about trade. RNs say they are committed to fighting against the aspects of the TPP, learned through leaked documents, that threaten to give giant healthcare corporations the right to privatize national healthcare systems and pharmaceutical companies the ability to inflate drug costs.
Days before the House vote, WikiLeaks published an additional healthcare-related secret draft chapter of the TPP, proving the agreement seeks, according to WikiLeaks, to force "healthcare authorities to give big pharmaceutical companies more information about national decisions on public access to medicine, and grant corporations greater powers to challenge decisions they perceive as harmful to their interests."
"We're here to tell Congress that senior citizens, diabetics, cancer patients, HIV and AIDS patients, and families deserve to buy affordable medications. And healthcare corporations cannot overturn laws, such as nurse-to-patient ratios or environmental regulations, in the name of profits," says NNU Co-president Jean Ross. "Our nurses will be working hard as this next vote approaches --and as long as it takes--to ensure Congress puts an end to dangerous trade deals."