Wicker Amendment Withheld from Legislation - Victory for the Health and Safety of Nurses

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The House of Representatives wrapped up debate on the Fiscal Year 2008 Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education Appropriations bill late Thursday night, July 19, 2007.

Realizing that he did not have the support needed to win, Representative Roger Wicker (R-MS) opted to withhold his amendment. The Wicker Amendment would have made it impossible for the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to require fit-testing of respirators used to protect nurses from infectious diseases. These respirators are used to stop the transmission of airborne biohazards such as avian flu, SARS, anthrax, and TB.

The American Nurses Association (ANA) would like to thank those who took the time to explain the importance of aggressive infection control to their Members of Congress. This victory would not have been possible without your action. Your e-mails and calls in opposition to the Wicker amendment worked.

This is the significant step forward in making sure that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration renews annual fit-testing of respirators used in health care settings.

The next step is the Senate. There is a chance that this issue could re-emerge during the Senate debate on this bill. ANA will monitor activity, and alert you if further action is required.

Thanks again for helping us gain this victory for nurses.