Nursing mothers have Representative Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) to thank for her tireless attempts to see a Breastfeeding Promotion Act passed in Congress. Last Thursday Representative Maloney and Senator Jeff Merkley announced the introduction of the Breastfeeding Promotion Act of 2009 (H.R. 2819 / S. 1244).
Incredibly, this is the fifth time the Act has been up for consideration. Representative Maloney spoke to a crowd of nursing mothers on Capitol Hill:
This bill is needed now more than ever, as moms head back to work earlier than ever during this recession. I hope that with Senator Merkleyâ€™s good efforts, we can get this bill to the President.
You can see the full text of the Breastfeeding Promotion Act of 2009 (H.R. Bill 2819) online. Representative Maloney summarizes it as follows:
This bill will bring breastfeeding mothers under the protection of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, require employers with over 50 employees to provide a private space and unpaid time off during the workday for mothers to express milk, and sets standards for breast pump manufacture. It also provides for tax incentives for employers that establish private lactation areas in the workplace and tax credits for nursing mothers.
Senator Merkley, who championed a workplace breastfeeding bill in Oregon two years ago, is now behind legislation at the federal level.
Itâ€™s not every day we have the opportunity to enact legislation that is so clearly a win-win for families and our nation. Making it easier for moms to breastfeed means we have healthier babies, stronger families and happier workers
Kudos to Senator Merkley for being the first congressperson to sponsor the bill in the Senate!
What can you do to see that the fifth time is the charm? Write to your state’s elected officials in Congress and urge them to support the Breastfeeding Promotion Act of 2009 (HR 2819)!